A Word about "Critical Thinking Skills"
Critical thinking is all the rage amongst educators, curriculum designers and standardized test-makers. Employing critical thinking alone is akin to eating sushi with one chopstick only: the only end result will be an empty belly. Critical thinking is generally defined as "the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion" (Dictionary.com). Whew - sounds tiring! Wildflower School views critical thinking as the skinny end of a funnel: it’s about selecting, judging, discarding.
Creative thinking, on the other hand, is the second chopstick. Used together, critical and creative thinking lead to innovation. Creative thinking is generative, nonjudgmental, expansive. Business Dictionary defines creative thinking as “a way of looking at problems or situations from a fresh perspective that suggests unorthodox solutions (which may look unsettling at first)”. Creative thinking is the wellspring of unique ideas, flexible thinking and diversification. It is the fat end of the funnel which allows everything in!
Wildflower School values both creative and critical thinking, recognizing that the process of innovating requires both. We take time to observe and document children’s play and inquiry in order facilitate their understanding, development and use of both creative and critical thinking skills.