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Toddler Maker Faire18Creativity, Artistry, Imagination, Innovation, Personal Expression

As we wind up this series on 21st-century learning, it is time to consider the skills at the forefront of discussion when most people think about this topic – the goals of innovation and creativity. Employers want them, and schools work hard to “teach” these skills. Montessori education leads the way in this respect. At WMS, classrooms are set up to allow personal expression to flourish and creative experiences abound. Learning is student directed, not teacher directed.

Yes, you will find that our teachers have great lesson plans and ideas for how each day will go and what lessons are taught. What you will also find is responsiveness to and engagement with the children that allow detours to occur. These detours are meaningful and led by the children. Teachers at WMS know very well what children need to learn at each level and do their best to support that learning. They also know that learning occurs best when children are able to learn things of interest; they need to be engaged.

Through this engagement children are able to ask questions, imagine possibilities and create and innovate. Our Maker Studios are great examples of spaces that encourage the development of these skills. Hands-on experiences abound in these studios. Children gain direct knowledge of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) and make adjustments to the work they are doing to answer those “what if” questions. Igniting curiosity is an essential part of the work we do at WMS. It is the foundation of many of the 21st-century skills shared during the past several weeks.