Free Creativity

3/1/11

http://www.nytimes.com/pages/education/index.html

Access to resources is key for those in the teaching industry. In a classroom filled with 35 rambunctious 8 year olds, a few extra packs of construction paper can make all of the difference. In a classroom filled with high schoolers constantly on the edge of inattention, access to a personal textbook lends a sense of autonomy and encourages interest. What if all teachers had access to equal resources and were trusted to take from one central location everything they need? Through a New York program based in Queens, this almost Utopian dream is beginning to take place.

This 32 year old program, Materials for the Arts, provides used and donated supplies to artists, non profit groups, and public schools. Housed in a large warehouse, a collection of constantly changing supplies is available daily. Teachers are creative as they make careful selections, and innovative projects and assignments are often the result of their trips to this unique building. Everything in the warehouse’s aisles of treasure is free. This system is something I believe is one that should be extended across the country. Perhaps if we provided more services like this to teachers, our curriculum and classroom atmosphere would improve. Students and teachers would find access to a new level of creativity, and would feel more free to think independently–unconfined by the pressures of standardized tests and the stress that comes with extremely limited resources.

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