How do you create or build on these conditions to support innovation? What has been the impact on those you serve?
I taught young 5s for two years. During that time I began to notice that my kids did not like spending time working on something to only have to put it away at the end of playtime. The impact of that was that they did not take as much time building or creating. So I began thinking about what I could do differently to cultivate that creativity.
One thing I began doing was opening up places in my classroom for them to store work. The two pictures below show how I opened up spaces for kids to leave their work throughout the week. I had small baskets, from the dollar store, set up so they could leave their lego creations in those. The counter was a free for all and it was messy. But, overall, I saw them explore more and try different things. They were spending days working on different projects and collaborating with each other because they did not have to put things away or take it home. Because such great learning and collaborating with happening, I overlooked the mess. ;)
I also opened up activities that were more open-ended and asked them to think deeper (see pictures below). The objects changed every couple of weeks at our science table. We also had weekly science experiments that I let them explore. That little change helped to shift their conversations and got them to think deeper and reflect on the world around them.
These were two things that I adjusted during our playtime to cultivate innovation. They were small adjustments but they made a huge difference in the kids thinking and creating.