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Art to Heart

What Kind of Environment Fosters Creativity?

“It’s really important that when kids come to school every day, there’s some part of that day that they’re really, really looking forward to. Something that’s passionate with them, something that they’re going to take home with them that night, and something that’s really part of their life. And for a lot of kids, that’s music.”

Geoffrey Davis, history/geography teacher, Key Learning Community

“When I say ‘a rich environment,’ I mean one that provokes children to think, one that invites children’s curiosity. When children are curious they’re more likely to look at something, to focus their attention—and focused attention is, of course, the basis of learning.”

Deborah Tegano, professor of child and family studies, University of Tennessee

“We’ve learned over the years that high expectations and interesting materials are valuable contributors to children’s learning.”

Lori Geismar Ryan, director, Clayton Schools Family Center

“A beautiful environment, an environment that’s very much taken care of, supports the development of quality relationships among the people who live in that environment. Analysts and psychologists often ask people, ‘So what was your relationship with your mother like?’ and ‘What was your relationship with your father like?,’ but very seldom do they ask, ‘What’s your work environment like? What do you see when you look out the window? What kind of light is there?’ And, in fact, these aspects are very important for the quality of life.”

Vea Vecchi, consultant, Reggio Children

“Another way of thinking of it is thinking of children not as empty vessels but as full vessels, ready to express themselves. They have it all; they have the innate ability, the innate desire to make sense of their own world. To some extent, we just have to stay out of the way. On the other hand, we do need to support them.”

Ashley Cadwell, headmaster, St. Michael’s School

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