Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Five I's of Innovation- Part I

In President Obama’s State of the Union address this past January, he called for a nationwide education emphasis on innovation. The requirements for emphasizing innovation indicate a curriculum which highlights the Five I’s: Imagination, Inquiry, Invention, Implementation, and Initiative- the latter being the supporting trait that facilitates the other four.

In past blogs, I have noted that the Montessori Method is recognized as an educational method that supports the development of innovative thinking (November 12, 2009 posting). Through a series of reflections, I would like to discuss the multitude of ways in which the Wilmington Montessori Community develops each student’s human potential through emphasizing the

Five I’s of innovation.

Part I –Imagination

The Montessori Method calls attention to the significance of the development of imagination. The formation of the imagination is embedded in the sensorial experiences provided in our early childhood environments. The opportunities for creative expression and exploration in our elementary programs further enhance and encourage the power of imagination.

During the early years of a Montessori education the child sees, hears, smells, tastes, and touches specifically designed apparatus. These early, concrete interactions are the rudimentary foundation from which the child’s imagination will grow. As the child advances through Montessori’s first plane of development (birth to 6), their ascent toward abstract thinking is actualized in their ability to picture these concrete objects or experiences in their absence. In other words, the child begins to make ‘pictures’ in their mind.

During the second plane of development (ages 6-12) children posses an immense capacity for imagination. This imagination plays a key role in the learning process by providing both meaning to experience and understanding to knowledge. This second plane also brings a keen interest in making sense of the world, as well as storytelling. A basic training for the imagination is listening to the vast stories inherent in
Montessori’s Cosmic Curriculum.

With older students, creative expression of the imagination can be stimulated through many sources of writing experiences such as creative writing, poetry, research, editorials, and myths. In addition, our special’s classes such music, art, technology, and French provide yet another avenue for the continued exploration and development of imagination.

To awaken each child’s spirit and imagination is a principle goal of our community at Wilmington Montessori School.

"Human consciousness comes into the world as a flaming ball of imagination. Everything invented by human beings, physical or mental, is the fruit of someone's imagination.”
-Maria Montessori

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