Published on 21 March 2017
Last week’s Building Brighter, Stronger Families conference speakers, Mem Fox and Maggie Dent, certainly captured the imagination and inspired all those who attended.
It was feel-good day, inducing the body chemicals of dopamine and serotonin, which are produced in children through our love and attention.
Over the past few years we have been promoting lifelong learning as well as literacy for children and their parents and it was great to hear strong reinforcement of that message from such national identities in Mem and Maggie.
There were numerous messages that promoted the need to allow our children to develop resilience, to build their capacity and their coping skills, enabling them to persevere, turn challenges into opportunity and to gain emotional and spiritual competence. Let’s try and teach our children to think instead, of telling them ‘what to think’.
As a community and as families we need to value childhood, to marinate our children with language, tone and expression, essentially, letting them see and hear firsthand the sound of moving human faces and that reading needs to be addictive.
It is agreed at a conceptual level that to ready our children for the future we need to foster in them creativity, curiosity, risk taking and imagination so as they grow, they will have the ability to turn ideas into actions, as well as the desire to solve problems.
A test of “divergent thinking” - an individual’s ability to envisage multiple solutions to a problem - produced some amazing results, with 98% of 3-5 year olds tested scoring at creative genius levels. Five years later, of the same children, only 32% scored at that level; with five years further on, only 10%.
In 1992, 200,000 adults took the same test with only 2% reaching that level of creativity. With what the future may bring, we need to be armed with the creative skills to meet it head on.
MAYOR STEVE MARTIN
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