What exactly is creativity? It’s a word that can excite and delight or frighten, depending on family history, self-image and experience. There are a million ways to define it – and I’ve never seen a definition that quite does it justice – but one thing’s for sure: we’re all born with it and, I think, in equal measure. It’s just that some expressions of creativity are acknowledged and encouraged more than others. And it’s heart-breaking when people say (which they often do to me) ‘Oh, I’m not creative.’

Do you talk? Do you laugh? Have you ever splashed in a puddle or chosen which path to take through a forest? Invented a sandwich, or decided how thickly to slice a loaf of bread? There you go. *

It’s wonderful to be part of a team putting creativity at the heart of education in Ireland. The Creative Schools programme, led by the Arts Council in partnership with other organisations**, aims to embed creativity in schools around the country. Creative Associates are artists or teachers who work with schools to facilitate a creative ethos, learning and activities. At this week’s training course, we explored creative approaches to learning. Participants, including artists, dancers, goldsmiths, lace makers and more, shared their experiences and how to ensure the voices of all members of a school community are heard, from pupils to teachers, cleaning staff to grandparents.

So hooray for the Creative Schools team for championing creativity in young Irish hearts and minds.

* Of course there are levels and layers of creativity to explore and develop. A useful tracker – a kind of creativity Fitbit – is the cobweb showing 5 creative habits of mind. The beauty of this tool is that each element – inquisitiveness, imagination, persistence, discipline and collaboration – can be nurtured and grown, and can vary from week to week or even minute to minute. https://creativitearooms.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/creativity-culture-educations-habits-of-mind/

** Partners are the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.