The world marked last week’s death of Apple’s Steve Jobs with sadness and gratitude for all the amazing technology he help create that we use today. This week two Eastside teachers, who are also parents, offer some tips on how we can enhance our child’s creativity, communication, team work and problem solving skills and perhaps raise the next Steve Jobs.
Meagan Buckmaster Ross is an art instructor with an early childhood education background. She teaches art at the in Redmond, and is also the mother of four children ranging in age from six to 16 and a certified doula.
Buckmaster Ross says Orange Blossom Society's sensory art classes help cultivate children's creativity and problem solving skills.
“Research has shown that experiences with new kinds of activity or stimulation can generate growth in the brain within only a few hours after the experiences begin,” she said.
Buckmaster Ross gives her students choices and encourages them to explore the materials themselves. She develops creativity in her students by engaging them in open-ended activities, such as a painting exercise that uses unusual tools.
“This is the choice at a sensory class, materials (are) out that they can use the way they want to make a masterpiece their way," she said. "It helps with confidence, creativity and problem solving skills.”
Buckmaster Ross’s classes can be started at as young as 12 months old, when development of the five sense is very important, she said. At home, she suggests making a "sensory bin" with common household items such as flour, rice and play dough.
Skills in problem solving, creativity, communication and team building are also what Jeff Mason, a Cisco-certified teacher at , is developing in his technology students. Mason has a B.S. in Physics and a M.Ed. in Technology Education.
Mason says parents who want to raise kids with the levels of intelligence, creativity and problem solving skills his students have need to encourage creativity very early on. Mason recalls his parents allowing him as a child to find and fix broken items from the local junkyard and says there is great value in allowing kids to “take stuff apart and see how it works.”
Mason says he is constantly working with his students to get them to “think outside the box” by throwing them “many curve balls every day.” Communication and creativity are two essential skills, he said.
“I see students who have taken high levels of math and science, but when I ask them to take a concept and apply it, they lack the creativity to do that,” Mason said.