11 June 2018
Day 1: Hello Friends!
Choo choo! Our Good Morning Train commenced operation as we started Day 1 of Downtown Derby with some warm-up activities for the children to get comfortable with their new surrounding!
Inspired by filmmaking processes, children were tasked to form mental imageries and visualize this morning, as we showed a short clip of Cars to them and got them to envision what their own cars would look like. On top of their original illustrations, children were encouraged to accessorize their cars with cut-outs from magazines as well.
One of the children, Kyler, drew and named his character “Lightning Storm”, which was a unique car that consisted of blasters, parachutes, speakers, a jail, a bed and many more. Unrestricted by specific conventional norms, children were free to tap into their existing knowledge and construct their own versions of a car.
American psychologist William James in 1890 wrote, ‘‘sensations once experienced, modify the nervous organism, so that copies of them arise again in the mind after the original outward stimulus is gone.’’ Because these sensations are stored in an essentially intangible form, we can reconstruct, embellish, and alter them in infinite ways. Imagine a dog with purple feet, or a portable music player based on computer technology. We can even combine different modalities: a dragon that meows, or a fish named John that sings.
Such reconstructions or novel images can be deliberately created (as required by psychometric tests of creativity), or may occur with apparent spontaneity that can be fostered through frequent experiences and stimulations. This is why it is useful to allow children to freely tap on their previous sensations and knowledge, to be able to combine certain knowledge domains with other domains that may not usually be associated together, and to be unconstrained by the functional fixedness they would most likely become limited by as they grow up. Creative thinking need not be just a supplementary class children get signed up to – it can instead be a state of mind that naturally motivates creative behavior within the context of present circumstances.
Having watched clips of Cars and made drawings of their idea of a car, the kids then dived into the hands-on making phase! As they queued up to collect all the different parts needed to make a car, such as wheels, base, axel, as well as the various other parts they wanted to make their car one of a kind, they were intrigued by how small individual wooden parts can come together into a proper car. Kids were highly attentive and focused on ensuring that their cars moved smoothly.
Watching the children explore the different elements related to Cars reminded me of how contrastingly rigid my childhood was – not that all the things I did were not good or engaging, but I do wonder how differently I might have been if I have had similar chances to think out of the box, to be encouraged to design and create something that is uniquely mine based on my own thought processes. While it is important that we learn the properties and functions of the world around us, we should too appreciate the depths of a young mind that makes him or her a unique individual who is still able to, at this point, think in ways uniquely different from the rest of the world.
Rockstar Communicator - The Dimple Loft
Daphne is currently an undergraduate in Psychology at the National University of Singapore. She enjoys working with children and strongly believes in learning from experience, especially for children as they manoeuvre through the world around them. She is inspired by the energy and positivity children have towards novel objects and situations.