Creative Schools @CSCNS
The school were thrilled to learn last September that we had been selected to take part in the Creative Schools Programme, which is only in its second year of operation in Ireland, but which has already had such a wonderful impact on the participating schools, if the documentary aired earlier this month is anything to go by. In October we were appointed our ‘Creative Associate’, the wonderful Niamh Comiskey, who will work with the school over the two year period, to help us to achieve our goal of becoming a more creative school community and learning environment for the children. The first part of the brief was to familiarise Niamh with the school community, environment and ethos, to enable her to better understand our needs and aspirations. Between November and January, Niamh visited the school and met the staff, gave us an overview of the programme, and carried out a survey amongst staff, regarding their views on creativity in teaching and learning.
Next on the agenda was the important task of meeting the children, and gaining their views on creativity. In March, all classes took part in a series of workshops exploring their understanding of what being creative actually means. They also reflected on what creative activities they currently engage with, and the types of creative activities they would like to engage more with in future. The children responded very well and provided us with great insight into their perspective on what being creative means to them, as well as how they see creativity influencing their lives. The statement on the post-it below from one child in response to the question “What does creativity bring to your life?” seems all the more poignant at a time like this, when the impact of Covid 19 has demanded great flexibility and creativity from all of us in adapting to unprecedented circumstances.
Next up, we hope to survey our wider school community (parents and management) and to collate all of the information we have gathered, to develop an arts plan for the school that reflects all stakeholders’ points of view, and helps us to establish long term pathways for engagement in the arts. That said, the child’s voice remains the key determinant in how our journey to becoming a creative school will ultimately unfold. We will be hitting the ground running as soon as we return to school, engaging the children in lots of creative activities that enable them to express themselves and hopefully develop a range of transferable, life-long skills such as critical thinking. Eventually, it is hoped that our Creative Schools journey will culminate in a ‘celebration of creativity’ presented back to the school community in a form yet to be determined by the children themselves. It could be an exhibition or showcase of work, a trip to a cultural venue or site, a concert or performance of some kind, or could perhaps take an entirely original and unexpected form! We know no more at this time, but you could always consult with the ‘expert in creativity’ at home (your child) if your curiosity gets the better of you… after all, children are widely recognised as the most naturally creative of all.