Critical and creative thinking in the ELC and Junior School

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
Sir Ken Robinson

English author, educator and thought leader Sir Ken Robinson has notched up over 30 million views of his famous TED Talk on creativity and schooling. Sir Ken emphasises the importance of nurturing creativity, curiosity and higher-order thinking skills in a well-rounded and holistic education. While creativity is often thought of as pertaining only to artists, musicians, and performers, this is not an accurate interpretation. Creativity, curiosity and judicious thought are ever-present. As a result, all students must develop and hone their critical and creative thinking capabilities both in and outside of the classroom.

Dr Edward de Bono also stresses the importance of creative thinking, explaining creativity as essential to all learning through breaking out of established patterns to look at things in a different way. Thinking in this way is not something we all do naturally; to develop and grow these skills, students require practice, rehearsal and explicit teaching. At the ELC and Junior School we place significant importance on fostering creative and critical thinking across all facets of the curriculum, using a capability continuum to support consistent learner progress.

Our Junior School and ELC teachers understand the importance of developing a strong disposition towards creative and critical thinking and create authentic student-centred experiences that allow these attributes and skills to grow in our learners. This could not be more evident than in our Year 2 classes this term, with the students working with across their year level as part of How the World Works to design, build and test their very own billycarts.

Our Prep learners, too, have been provided with rich opportunity, employing a range of different materials, fabrics, cardboard, plastics and paper to design and build new houses for the three little pigs. The results of have been wonderful, as our youngest students develop and refine their ideas, test possibilities, construct theories, and act on their understanding.

Similarly, at the other end of the Junior School campus our Year 6 students are finalising their initiatives as part of their MYP design projects and Girls Who Lead social entrepreneurial program. The action they have taken in response to their inquiries lays a foundation for wider community service and ingenuity in the MYP on and for CAS (creativity, activity, service) in the IB Diploma Programme in years to come at the Senior School.

By providing students with these types of opportunities, where they use and apply their knowledge, skills and understandings in real life and hands-on experiences, we prepare them to become capable and compassionate young leaders.

Peter McDonald
Head of Junior School and ELC