The Right Kind of Spiral

LifelongKindergarten

Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity Through Projects, Passion, Peers and Play by Mitchel Resnick
MIT Press, August 1, 2017

Mitchel Resnick's book, Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity Through Projects, Passion, Peers and Play, argues that schools make a big mistake when they become less like kindergarten as children move through them. Resnick, who has worked at MIT's Media Lab for many years and whose research group created the Scratch programming language, believes that there is a direct relationship between the collaborative creativity fostered in kindergarten classrooms and the development of "X students" – innovative risk-takers he thinks are better suited to the future than those who earn straight A's. What makes kindergarten such a hotbed of 21st century skill development is its fairly universal commitment to what Resnick calls the "Creative Learning Spiral," a teacher-designed, student-driven process that begins and ends with imagination and moves through several key stages including creation, play, sharing, and reflection. "Unfortunately," says Resnick, "after kindergarten, most schools shift away from the Creative Learning Spiral. Students spend much of their time sitting at desks, filling out worksheets, and listening to lectures – whether from a teacher in the classroom or a video on the computer." If creativity is essential to innovation, and an innovative, collaborative mindset is a goal of 21st century schooling, then Resnick’s argument in favor of threading the educational needle with experiences based on kindergarten essentials is very compelling.


Submitted By: Jessica Flaxman, Nashoba Brooks School, Concord, MA

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