What we Really Needs is
Creative Thinking!

Schools.
We Need Creative Thinking!

In the UK the news of the closure of all the schools and colleges erupted earlier this week. All schools were required to shift to remote schooling. A complete switch to online learning is now very common, yet in millions of cases, full-time remote connectivity is technically, physically and psychologically problematic. 

 A renomated UK based newspaper titled last week: “Open all schools; Close all schools! What we really needs is creative thinking.” The article highlighted that there is no field of policy which is more important than education and that it is now time to come up with something new and better to respond to this crisis
 
Personally I cannot agree more with this. 
 
During and after the lockdowns many teachers and parents tried to understand how to best deal with the situation: in many cases, a common, innovative and resilient perspective has emerged, one which considers problems highlighted by the pandemic as an opportunity to find solutions to issues which may have been present for some time, rather than introduced by it. And, while debate, research and reflection on these issues is fervent, here are some examples of concrete experiences – really “out of class”!
 
In the UK, some suggested “Nightingale schools”, which might shift lessons into larger spaces (think of all the empty theatres, cinemas and music venues). The concept of a big open-space school is not a new one: it was introduced in the US in 1965 as an experiment. The term space substitute classroom and indicates the place where teachers and pupils of different age interact. 
 
In some countries, like Denmark and Belgium, schools have already moved some of their operations to public buildings and/or outdoor locations. In many US states, teaching has been shifted into the open air – which has continued amid snowy weather (e.g. Maine, Colorado and New Hampshire). “It’s the healthiest, safest place for us to be right now. Anything that we can do to get kids outdoors for longer periods of time is vital. This is where we need to be right now,” said Anne Stires, an outdoor learning consultant and advocate in Maine. For educators, outdoor learning is yet another transition: last Spring, it was remote learning; then they switched to hybrid models; now they’re scrambling to equip kids to stay warm outside

Outdoor learning may work well for rural and suburban schools. Even winter weather seems not to be a significant barrier. The teachers are confident children can spend virtually all day outside, and are even comfortable napping outside in wool-lined sleeping bags, filled with hot water bottles, lying on cozy hammocks .

In urban areas, the concept of “School Without Walls” was born to encourage students to “use the city as a classroom”.  “It’s a good thing because you can see the real thing,” says a 9-year-old about it. “We learn what is around us.”

In Argentina, like in other parts of South America, the governments developed radio broadcasting  programmes for students. Each lesson is attended by a teacher and a conductor (journalist, artist, scientist). Timings are communicated in advance, and the schedule allows time for open air activities, so that none of the students misses out on lessons or playing outside. 
 
In the Bermuda, the educational department provides updates through its social media, and its website. It does also deliver educational materials -where possible – comprising readings, worksheets and other required materials.
 
In Austria, school psychologists can be reached by telephone or e-maill. Psychological counselling is available during evening hours and weekends too, to support students and parents in need. There are also counselling services (in 23 different languages!) for people who do not speak German.
 
In conclusion there are many alternative spaces to classrooms (parks and gardens, woods, squares or courtyards have been set up with gazebos, canopies, tensile structures…); there are also many ways of teaching, respecting the Covid policies, without the need to spend hours in front of the computer screens or tablets.  
These alternatives enrich experience and offer different point of views. And we have noticed that, contrary to what one would expect, being outdoors, and carrying out creative interdisciplinary activities, does not cause distraction in children but, on the contrary, sharpens their attention and concentration – because they find themselves in a favourable dimension, considerably more stimulating than the four walls of a classroom, or the flat insistence of a screen. In short, there are many benefits for children: less stress, greater psychophysical well-being, more knowledge and respect for the environment…
 
Let’s give children the opportunity to engage with activities that require not only physical contact with the world, but the creativity, patience and determination to obtain a good results. Let’s give children the opportunity to explore, create, grow
learning, school, outdoor

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