A few weeks ago, I attended a conference at Kean University in New Jersey entitled Educating the Creative Mind. For it, I helped a professor prepare for and present two children’s art workshops. Leading up to the conference, I (and two fellow art education students) had the most ‘fitting’ task of collecting found and recycled materials for the workshops. Basically, this just enabled my pre-existing tendency to hoard such objects in my tiny apartment. Collectively, we came up with a fantastic assortment of collage and construction materials for the workshop - almost entirely derived from our own art supply collections and ‘recycling bins’ (see top two photos). The workshops were for a group of 3 and 4 year olds and a group of 4 and 5 year olds - along with their parents (and were observed by conference attendees). The workshops - which were very much based in Lois Lord’s approach to teaching collage and construction - went very well. It was exciting to watch the children circling around the table, ever so carefully making selections from the materials we had collected for them over the past months.
The bottom row of images are of the preschool classroom where we carried out our workshops. The preschool is run according to the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education. The teacher has created a beautiful, creative space in her classroom - which I found to be very inspiring.
Aside from the workshops, a major highlight of the conference for me was hearing Howard Gardner (who developed the theory of Multiple Intelligences) give the keynote address. In his talk, he discussed research that he has conducted on creativity. He discussed a project that he’s recently been working on, in an effort to introduce moral considerations into his research on creativity, and to look at ways to mobilize creative human potentials in a positive or prosocial sense. This most recent effort has taken the form of the “Good Work Project,” which is elaborated upon at goodworkproject.org.