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8 ways to cultivate creativity in schools, and at home

In times of rapid, constant transformation and with unprecedented challenges that need

urgent solutions, the demand for innovation and creative thinking skills in 21st Century

workplaces has never been more pronounced. As industries shift towards adaptability and

agility, the ability to foster creativity in our young generations becomes an important

investment in the workforce of tomorrow.

Mark Anderson, principal, and co-founder of Koa Academy, underscores the pivotal role of

creative thinking in today's fast-paced world: “Education must keep pace with the rate of

change we see in the world, and meaningfully reflect and address real-world needs.

Adaptability and innovative solutions are already paramount across all fields of human

endeavour, and therefore supporting children in developing their creative thinking skills is not 

just an educational ideal—it is a strategic necessity that will shape the leaders and problem

solvers of the next generation. Both educators and parents play a vital role in championing

learning and an upbringing that prioritises the cultivation of vital soft skills such as creativity.”

Putting creativity in the spotlight requires a shift in mindset about what creativity is, and how

it manifests in the modern world. “Traditionally, we have strongly associated creativity with

the arts and with natural talent for artistic undertakings. From the school point of view, this

means that the art classroom, the music room, the dance group or the drama club are the

only places where creativity is intentionally developed. However, creativity and creative

thinking are also critical components of doing Mathematics and Science. These skills are

important in accounting and business studies, as well as entrepreneurship education.

Alongside, busting creativity out of its narrow confines, is making it clear that creative

thinking and creative skills are not innate. As far as we know so far, there’s no gene for

creativity. Instead, what the research shows is that creativity is cultivated through

experiences and in conducive environments. Therefore, given the right opportunities, all

kids can develop creative skills.”

Three ways traditional schooling inhibits creativity

Assessment practices - Traditional tests and exams focus on memorisation, discouraging

creative thinking by emphasising a single correct answer. Mark says, “At Koa, we are always 

looking for ways to enable learners to embrace ambiguity, critical thinking, and problem-


Subject silos - Early specialisation in subjects limits creativity by compartmentalising

knowledge. Mark suggests promoting interdisciplinary connections to encourage innovative


Prioritising hard skills - Traditional education tends to prioritise hard skills over soft skills,

such as creativity. “This is a critical shift that needs to happen in the school environment,”

Mark says. “Soft skills, including creativity need to be regarded as foundational skills that

need to be developed across all subjects.”

8 ways parents and teachers can nurture creativity in children

Creativity exists on a continuum between generating new ideas no one has thought of before 

and forming new associations by finding different ways to connect existing concepts.

Encourage curiosity - Foster curiosity by asking open-ended questions, engaging in

debates, and exploring new knowledge and experiences. Children are born curious, yet

along the path of growing up, many adults lose their sense of curiosity. Mark believes that

adults rekindling their curiosity about the world can positively impact children.

Embrace boredom - Allow children the space to think creatively by resisting the urge to

provide instant stimulation. Boredom can be a catalyst for imaginative thinking and problem-


Solve problems creatively - Teach children to break down complex problems into

manageable parts and creatively solve them one step at a time.

Nurture passions - Support and encourage children's interests. As they independently

explore the things they are passionate about they have many opportunities to develop the

soft skills associated with creativity.

Reframe failure - Shift the perspective on failure from an obstacle or shameful endpoint to

an invigorating opportunity for reflection and growth.

Engineer the environment - Create conducive physical spaces that enhance creativity

through natural light, controlled sound, and flexible, personalised tools.

Intentional discipline - Structure time for creative thinking or play, treating creativity as a

muscle that benefits from intentional exercise.

Seek diversity - Exposure to diverse experiences helps individuals see things from different

perspectives, fostering new associations and connections.

Discover Koa Academy, visit


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