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Brendan Largay, Head of School

Creativity: A Critical and Teachable Skill

The shift was likely unremarkable to those who pay attention to such matters, but the World Economic Forum recently adjusted their list of the most important and in-demand skills in the coming years. Most of the skills listed remained more or less unchanged, with one notable exception—creativity moved up the charts more dramatically than any other. In 2015, the Forum expected creativity to be the tenth most critical skill. In 2020, they expect it will be the third most important skill.

The list of all ten which can be found on several websites and in several publications (I found it here) is fascinating in its own right when one looks through the lens of pre-kindergarten to grade 8 education. How are we teaching these skills? How intentional are we about naming them and their importance in the future? And how do we know we are doing so successfully? These are the questions that teachers and programmatic administrators are consistently grappling with as they assess the purpose of their curriculum, whether by looking at it carefully through the review process or simply by welcoming colleagues into their teaching spaces and inviting conversations about their practice. With so much attention being paid to creativity’s ‘big move’ up the charts, I couldn’t help but consider all of the ways that we nurture it here at Belmont Day.

Consider the pre-k and kindergarten curriculum in the courtyard, for example. With a pedagogy rooted in discovery through play, in many ways, creativity is the curriculum. Through the authentic scope of early childhood, children’s imaginations help them make sense of the natural world. A visit to the Barn to see the first grade gyotaku prints—paintings made from the impression of fish and other sea creatures (yes, that was a real octopus they used), or a visit to any one of the classrooms in the school reveals the many ways that our curriculum nurtures creativity. Today was no different, except that middle school parents were visiting: middle school students showcased their learning with everything from original songs they had written, to plant cells they had built, to poetry they recited.

Creativity—the skill that LinkedIn just identified as the most in-demand of 2019—abounds at Belmont Day today as it has throughout our history. It’s nice to see the rest of the world catching up.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone. Please take a moment on Monday to consider your service to others and how your creativity might inspire a greater good in homage to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.


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