The importance of developing creativity at a young age

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Natasha Coleman

Early Childhood educators often talk about the importance of teaching the whole child. This includes not only focusing on academic subjects but their social skills and fostering creativity as well. With the increase of rigor in today’s education curriculum, there seems to be less and less time for teachers to focus on other aspects that develop the whole child.

With increased time focused on academics, play is being pushed aside. As an educator, I believe play is an important part of a student’s time spent in school because students have time to engage in quality time with their peers, explore familiar and unfamiliar materials, and create lifelong friendships simply by playing together. Children can engage in role-playing and imaginative play. It allows them to express themselves without being told what to do. Through play, students can learn how to express and cope with their feelings. I also believe self-directed play fosters their creativity.

When teachers are told what to teach it often times prevent them from fostering creativity with their students. That’s unfortunate because we know that sometimes it’s the creative ways that the lesson is taught that allows students to understand and retain the material. Other ways to promote creativity is to allow the students to make choices, allow time for discovery and exploration, and allow students opportunity to express themselves. It is so important that students experience this in early childhood classrooms in particular because as they get older time in the classroom will be heavily focused on academics. Creativity stays with a child through their life. If done correctly, it can continue to grow and flourish.

If you ask kindergarten teachers do they prefer for a child comes to kindergarten with high academics or social and emotional skills.? I believe they would overwhelmingly choose social and emotional skills. Without them, it can be very hard to teach students who lack the skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and decision-making. I believe the development of these skills will help students regulate their feelings in a positive way and interact with other peers. Students without strong social and emotional skills can often show aggression because they do not have the skills and strategies to cope with their feelings and/or to problem solve. These skills also help foster creativity in students. Let’s all remember when school was an enjoyable and sometimes fun place to learn, live, and create!


 

Honor for a Local Education Hero

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Spectacular Washington, DC school superintendent, Vincent Reed, passed away on October 17, 2017 at the age of 89.  Reed revolutionized education in Washington, DC during his tenure.

“Vince Reed was one of the real heroes of Washington, D.C. A lot of people thought he was the best school superintendent the city ever had. He was a man of perfect integrity, and he was willing to do anything where kids were concerned.”

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Stay Woke!

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Black male teachers were the focus of The Fellowship of the National Black Male Educators for Social Justice.  Former chancellor of Washington D.C. Public School System, Kaya Henderson, moderated a panel during the event which took place October 13-15.

“We’re here to uplift, support, to share ideas and to really establish a national community and make sure that people are engaged with each other."

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Being a Parent Advocate

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By Veda Rasheed

As a DC native and Ward 7 resident, I am truly invested in what is happening in my community. Particularly as a parent, I want to make sure that my boys are afforded opportunities that lead them to become successful men.

I started to get involved in my sons' education by becoming a member of KIPP Parents of Purpose, which meets monthly to discuss issues pertaining to our campuses, solutions to resolve them, and how to improve the relationship with the community at-large. I learned very quickly that I had to be heavily involved in my children’s education because a parent’s involvement is directly related to their student’s success in school. As an advocate for my children, I share this mantra with other parents so they may equip themselves with the right tools to advocate for their children.

From this experience, I grew as a community organizer and organized the 2nd Annual Benning Road Peace Rally in Ward 7 earlier this year. The Peace Rally brought out over 300 families and community members to promote neighborhood safety, build community, and stand up against destructive behaviors in our neighborhood as one.

On August 12th, I organized the 2017 Ridge Road Community Center Back to School Carnival, which was a special opportunity for me to ensure that students in my community were going back to school with the supplies they needed to be successful. Our kids already face so many things they can't control, so this event was a way to make sure that they were going back to school ready to learn. To build community, we also offered free food, music, community resources and services, and fun activities!

When I was introduced to PAVE, I found an organization that could help me become a stronger parent advocate. PAVE helped me prepare my testimony in front of the DC Council, gave me the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray, and has connected me to incredible training and networking opportunities, like the Innovate Public Schools Parent Leader Institute in California, to become a more effective leader in my community. PAVE uplifts community members such as myself, and gives parent leaders the opportunity to be at the table and improve our education system.