Newman’s outlook is indicative of a wider cultural shift towards prioritising creativity in learning, and understanding its equal importance alongside more “traditional” skills – for example, literacy or numeracy. By now, the benefits of emphasising creativity are well-researched – from navigating our rapidly-shifting world, to teaching empathy and collaboration skills.
“With Creative Play, it’s not about right or wrong – there are no mistakes in art. Instead, we give them an artistic landscape or installation intended for personal expression,” he says.
“By cultivating their creative thinking skills, we’re in turn providing them with vital tools they’ll need beyond childhood, to think critically on their feet, work with others, flexibly adapt to situations – ultimately, to develop their understanding of their place in the world.”
With this new focus on art, Newman introduced another crucial change to the program – it would be artists, not teachers, taking the reins in leading the workshops.