Empowering Children to Realise Their Creativity
The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass ::
“Children are born with a strong propensity for creativity, but conventional education is specifically structured to remove it by the time they reach puberty. This shapes children to become adults in a looking-glass world in which they consume other people’s ideas rather than working together to find the best outcomes for their community. As consumerism has waxed, our quality of life has waned. Since the Second World War, despite huge increases in material prosperity, childhood mental ill-health has risen sharply, the gap between rich and poor escalated and our overall sense of wellbeing fallen.”
On Friday 29 April Alasdair Foster was the opening keynote speaker at a “festival of bold childhood ideas” staged at the Art Gallery of NSW by Gowrie NSW. This one-day conference, entitled ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ sought to challenge leaders in education to broaden their perspective on culture, inclusion, gender and identity.
Alasdair Foster believes it is important that the whole community be active participants in the ongoing creation of our shared cultures and not simply passive consumers of luxury goods and entertainment services defined by the ‘elite’. If we are not simply to live in the reflection of other people’s desires and interests, we must have agency in the present and connection to the past. If we rely on others to create our culture, we will live in an artificial, hermetic present with the promise of a future that, like the blandishments of advertising, is always some way off and never realised. In his view, the best place to break that vicious circle is in the empowerment of young people as creative citizens.
Gowrie NSW has been a leader in the advancement of services in the early childhood sector for 75 years. With a progressive approach to promoting and supporting quality services for all children, it is part of a national consortium of state-based Gowrie Centres committed to optimal outcomes for both children and families.