Two schools in worldwide Imagination Foundation pilot
07/23/2014 - Schaefer Charter and Sonoma Country Day School to host creative play spaces | Beginning this fall, two Sonoma County schools will be among 30 organizations worldwide to serve as Imagination Chapter host sites as part of an Imagination Foundation pilot program: Schaefer Charter School in the Piner-Olivet Union School District and Sonoma Country Day School. Imagination Chapters are community-organized learning spaces designed to foster creativity, entrepreneurship, and 21st century skills in children through “creative play.”
The idea for Imagination Chapters was inspired by Nirvan Mullick’s 2012 film Caine’s Arcade, which charmed the world with its message of creativity, handwork, perseverance, and community. The film’s success led to the formation of the Imagination Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering creativity and entrepreneurship in children. The Imagination Chapter pilot program builds on these ideas by forming pop-up creative learning spaces around the world.
As host sites, Schaefer Charter School and Sonoma Country Day School will receive training and support in the dynamics of creative play, then open their doors for children to work on creative projects individually and in groups. Supported by teachers or adult volunteers, the children will be welcomed to a place where they can tinker, experiment, explore, mess up, and try again. Simple projects may take two hours to complete; others may take weeks. As projects become more advanced, students may tackle real-world issues, kick-start business and social ventures, and showcase their creations in community venues. Activities can be aligned to different themes or content areas, but most will emerge from participating children’s interests.
Participation in the Imagination Chapter pilot program allows these two Sonoma County schools to play a role in research on creativity and the design of new measures to assess entrepreneurial thinking in children. The schools will have the opportunity to collaborate with students and educators in Imagination Chapters around the world. At the end of the pilot year, they will share their experiences with a goal of expanding the use of creative play in Sonoma County and opening new Imagination Chapters in the years ahead.
The opportunity to host Imagination Chapters in Sonoma County came about as a result of Nirvan Mullick’s keynote presentation at the ieSonoma event in June. It is one of a number of initiatives that have grown out of the two-year-old ieSonoma partnership, which is bringing all facets of the community together to promote and encourage innovation in education and ensure that students are prepared for success in a rapidly changing world.
The two Imagination Chapter sites were made possible thanks to the generosity of Sonoma Country Day School donors and additional contributions from Community Foundation Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Office of Education. The public school site was selected through a competitive application process. Key factors in the selection were the capacity of staff, demonstrated interest, and community need.
- Dan Blake, Director, Innovations & Partnerships
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