Creativity is important in all walks of life.

How can we come up with innovative solutions if we are afraid of making a mistake? How can we make changes if we are afraid of taking risks? How can we stand up for ourselves if we are afraid that who we are is wrong?

Creativity is and needs to be an important part of all learning. It helps us personalize, and integrate what we have learned. At the same time, creativity teaches us how to trust ourselves and take calculated risks. This is important in all walks of life.

Our children face a far different world then we faced when we were their age. Reading, writing and arithmetic alone will not prepare them for the rapidly changing future. They need to know how to think for themselves, not be afraid of being different, and be well versed in the art of creative thinking and problem solving. This can be accomplished through creativity, though creativity cannot be taught in a linear manner or as an isolated separate subject. It needs to be integrated into all learning and life like breathing.

We are told there is no time for creative outlets. We need to focus on core academics and test scores. Unfortunately this kind of thinking is not taking brain development or the impact that stress has on the mind into consideration.  If we stopped—just for a moment-––and reorganized our approach so the mind was considered and ready for learning, then we could accomplish more in far less time. Creativity does require some space, but at the same time creativity can create more space and be a great time saver.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”––Albert Einstein

Innovative and Creative Approach

After many years of observing children struggling with school, losing their sense of self and being turned off to learning, I wondered why the educational system couldn’t see the viable and long-standing importance of nurturing the whole child. Indeed, Daniel Pink, in his book A Whole New Brain, sites that our new global economy has created an unprecedented need for a different kind of thinker—a creative, original, and out-of-the-box thinker. Is there a simple and effective way we can meet the inner needs of the student and the new needs of the marketplace at the same time? Yes!

Nancy Marie has created a simple and profound solution—the I Create What I Believe! Self-Awareness Art Program (ICWIB). This innovative approach to drawing uses activities as simple as scribbling to help students free up the mind, activate curiosity and creativity, and put their mind into an open and receptive state of calm. This allows for introspection and expansion of their emotional intelligence. It also enhances their creative problem-solving skills and allows them to deepen their understanding of their authentic nature and the interconnectedness of all life.

How can something so simple accomplish so much? As a professional artist, Nancy has always been profoundly aware of the benefits of the creative process and the art of introspection. ICWIB grew from this awareness. The heart of the program evolved from her many years of working with children and her discomfort in seeing how the current educational system eroded their sense of self and self-worth. ICWIB is rooted in solid science and is taught from that perspective. This creates a practical platform that supports and provides students with the awareness and tools for tending to their heart and spirit in any setting.

Creative Problem-Solving

Research has shown that art and music enhance the learning process. Some people stop at the notation that we need to include art and music as part of school curriculum because it enables nonlinear thinkers a place to excel. This kind of thinking discounts and indicates a lack of awareness of how and why art affects the mind. When art is taught in a non-goal oriented perspective it can bring about a calmer, more receptive state of mind. What is actually taking place is the system is moving out of automatic and/or fight or flight and moving into the conscious mind. This is where creative problem solving and innovative thinking takes place. This mind state also encourages integration of all learning information.

Today’s Pilot Story

“The labyrinth is my favorite activity to show and observe. I am interested to note whether students can and will indeed slow down. I have noticed that students with ADD have a very difficult time coordinating their breath with their movement. Yet when they DO, there is a noticeable calm that comes over them. I have also observed this practice does not come easily and really needs to be done on a daily basis for them to “Get It” into their bodies. Students have said of the labyrinth: “I felt like I wasn’t doing it right. I felt stupid”, strange, awkward, intense, mysterious, uncertain, but also relaxed, calm, sleepy…”

Creativity in the Classroom

In the spring of 2009, I began teaching the I Create What I Believe! (ICWIB) program to a small select group of gifted teachers who had agreed to actively use the program in the classroom in the 2009-2010 school year and track the results.

Our intent was to demonstrate that when a student understands of how their beliefs affect their ability to succeed and are given simple and creative ways to transform negative beliefs you will see a reduction of stress and increase in their sense of self and ability to succeed.

The pilot study is going well and we are excited to start sharing some of our teachers’ observations and stories about how this program is impacting their classroom.  We will also release the results of our data collection at the end of the school year.

The students names have been changed. We will  also not reveal the names of our teachers, the schools where they teach or the states where they reside. We hope you enjoy these stories.

Pilot Story

“…Josh, a sixth grader, normally  would come into class, head towards his seat and sometimes sits down. Though usually, before I could get class started, he would be up again with a question, or make a sarcastic comment to another student. I then would  have to take time out of class to settle down the chaos and correct his behavior.  This scenario was often repeated several times a day during our forty-five minute class. It was exhausting!

When I began teaching the I Create What I Believe! Program, I immediately noticed how much Josh enjoyed the activities.  He was also delighted to learn that he could do “scribble art” during class as long as he paid attention.  Josh soon began to request art paper when he walked into my classroom. He also began to show more self-control.

Now Josh comes into class, gets art paper and sits down.  He rarely disrupts class and is passing science.  His other teachers have mentioned that his behavior and grades have improved in their classes as well…”

Creativity is a Necessity!!

I am not sure if I am more interested in the creative process or personal growth because they have always been so deeply intertwined.

In college I had such a profound mind-altering experience while drawing, that it permanently changed the way I view both art and life. This singular event propelled me on a journey of self-discovery.

In the process I have come to understand that creativity is not a luxury––but rather a necessity. Creativity expands and develops the conscious mind.  It also allows us to express our feelings in an unabashed manner. This full expression of the self has the ability to releases us from the past and allows us to be more authentic.