In 1930, Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky wrote, “When we consider the phenomenon of collective creativity, which combines all these drops of individual creativity that frequently are insignificant in themselves, we readily understand what an enormous percentage of what has been created by humanity is a product of the anonymous collective creative work of unknown inventors.”
Early childhood caregivers and teachers bear witness almost daily to ‘all these drops of individual creativity.’ They also choose what elements of our resulting collective creativities - our culture(s) - to emphasize with young children. Educators Mike Browne and Amir Gilmore remind us, "As 'cultural gatekeepers' (Watson, 2012) teachers shape a child’s understanding of their place in the world, because what they see within a child is what they produce out of the child." Speaking specifically to the experience of young Black boys, as they both once were, Browne and Gilmore go on, “Culture matters. As social actors and cultural gatekeepers, educators serve a critical role in Black boys’ lives, because they determine whose dreams are essential and how they will be centered. Through culture, teachers have the potential to instill a literacy of worthiness in their students.”
Dive deeper into the space where culture, childhood, and creativity meet by joining Browne and Gilmore in a compelling live conversation on September 13, exploring the ways the arts stimulate, nurture, and sustain children's - especially Black children's - self-explorations, joys, curiosities, creativities, well-being, and love of learning.
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Absolutely agree with you, Francis. So often 'special needs' is a deficit mindset and ignores the opportunities to work with a child through their interests and strengths or to see the multiple ways learning can unfold through the arts - or other 'non-traditional' approaches. Hope you'll join us for this conversation with Mike and Amir!
I appreciate this reminder of the critical value of the arts in supporting the growth, development, and education of young children. However, it's imperative that we advocate for art activities for ALL young children, especially those who struggle academically. This is one reason I am so frustrated when children in special education are pulled from art activities and cannot receive "specials". The arts are for everyone, as John Dewey so eloquently argued.