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Creative-led learning: a new approach to education


Children are naturally creative and it is through exploration and play that they begin to express themselves artistically. From a young age, children do not hesitate to experiment with colours, shapes and textures, literally using whatever materials they can get their hands on. They draw, paint, build, and create without inhibition or self-doubt, simply following their instincts and having fun.

As children grow older, however, they often start leaning away from this unbridled artistic expression becoming more self-conscious about their creations. Pablo Picasso said that, “Every child is an artist; the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”. One idea to motivate children to continue playing in the creative space, is to ensure that their curiosity is kindled. Curiosity drives children to ask questions, to find new interests and to look at the world around them with a sense of wonder, potentially leading them to look for a creative outlet for all that they see and experience.

Going outside and stepping into nature is possibly one of the easiest ways to spark wonder. Children’s innate sense of imagination allows them to continuously see the the world in new and inventive ways and nature reflects that inventiveness by constantly creating, adapting, and evolving in remarkable ways.

From the intricate patterns of a snowflake to the vibrant colours of the autumn leaves, nature is a source of endless inspiration. By encouraging children to explore and appreciate the natural world, we help them develop a greater understanding of the creative process and how it applies to all aspects of life. In turn, this can instil a sense of respect, a re-valuing of and an admiration for the natural world and its boundless creativity.

This reconnection to nature’s creativity, reconnects children to their own. Nature runs on systems and processes that are cyclical and self-nourishing. Creative-led learning needs to follow a similar pattern - emphasising the continuous process of learning and creating rather than just the end result. Taking risks, experimenting, thinking beyond the canvas and seeing the bigger picture are important traits to develop in children.   

Akasha wins Entrepreneurship Education of the Year- Africa Start Up Ecosystem Builders Award, Courtesy Akasha

Akasha, a nature-inspired, strengths-based school that integrates entrepreneurship and community, follows such an approach. It recognises that there is no one "right" way to learn and that different individuals have different strengths and ways of processing information. A creative-led approach plays an important role in nurturing a well-rounded and innovative mindset. If open-ended, child-led activities are embraced, and a safe and supportive environment is provided to develop imagination and critical thinking skills, then the groundwork is laid for future problem solvers.

Education should embrace diverse learning styles and create opportunities for students to express themselves in various ways, such as through art, music, writing, drama or technology. Overall, creative-led learning empowers students to become active and engaged learners, capable of adapting to a rapidly changing world and contributing to it in meaningful ways.

Akasha believes that reconnecting to nature ignites the creative flame within us, emboldens us with the courage to innovate and inspires us to live curiously. When we discover our strengths through brave learning*, we can grow regenerative thriving communities rooted in the wisdom of the natural world.

In any discussion around creativity, it is important to acknowledge that it is present in everything we do and is not limited to the arts or to those that consider themselves creative individuals. Whether we are painting a picture, composing a song, writing an article, cooking a meal or coming up with a new business idea, we are using our creative abilities.

Creativity is who we are. It is woven into the fabric of our being and is a defining characteristic of what makes us human - it can shape the way we experience and interact with the world around us. It is a vital part of our everyday lives and enables us to adapt, evolve, and push the boundaries of what is possible in our personal and professional endeavours.

The arts also bring attention to important social issues and foster empathy and understanding across diverse perspectives, bringing people together and building communities. By creating shared spaces for art such as the RMB Latitudes Art Fair, diversity can be celebrated and opportunities created for people to connect and engage with one another.

Akasha is excited to be participating in the RMB Latitudes Young Artists Playground at Shepstone Gardens from the 26th - 28th May 2023.

*Brave learning is a term that encompasses a variety of educational philosophies and approaches that prioritise risk-taking, experimentation and the development of skills related to resilience, creativity and adaptability.

- Tess Rayner and Kerry McLeod - co-creators of Akasha SA

Further Reading In Articles

African Artist Directory

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