Feet shuffle in, bulky jackets, bags slung across one shoulder, take-away cups balanced in shaky (and most likely) sweating hands. The first day is always like this, ripe with quiet tension and expectant faces; anxiety driving with excitement riding shotgun. Shy glances and small recognitions bubble up as everyone chooses their seat.
I greet each person by name, my confidant and overly friendly voice knocking against the tense energy of first-day jitters, mine included. Nervous, I fiddle with the markers and blank papers that are scattered across the tables. Someone starts making a name tent, I take a deep breath, letting it out slowly as others follow suit. The room becomes filled with the sounds of markers, bodies shifting in chairs, and sniffly noses until one participant pops their tent up in front of them and smiles at me. I smile back and take this cue to start.
“Welcome each of you to your Change it Up program. Are you ready for something different?” I scan the room for a half-smile or glimmer of excitement. Fifteen pairs of eyes stare back at me. No one speaks. “Great!” I say, clapping my hands. Let’s make a circle. Here,” gesturing to space at the front of the room. There is a moment’s hesitation as the group weighs my request. I grab a chair and move it to where I’ve indicated. The silence is enough to make my heart beat a little faster. I sit down and wait.
A chair scrapes against the lino floor, then another, tables float backward and a circle of curious adults appears. I smile and look around at each expectant face while explaining how our circle will mark the beginning and end of our time together each day. Then, from under my chair, I pull out a soft red ball, the kind kids throw at each other during a game of dodge ball.
“But first, we play,” I say.
“Play?” a curious new voice snaps the delicately strung tension.
“Yeah, play,” I respond. “It’s not just for kids, but also for those who are a kid at heart. And I never learned to grow up. Besides the fastest way for you all to like each other is to laugh with each other. So let’s get to it.”
Someone giggles. And we’re off.
Creativity, the ability to imagine and use new ideas, is one of the most sought after soft skills by employers and educational institutions alike. Creativity includes the Arts, but also shows up when we rearrange our living room, solve a complicated problem, cook a new recipe, or play around with our kids.
It is also an integral part of the experiential workshops and underlying pedagogy of CIU’s Employment Essentials.
Want to bring out the creativity of your learners, while teaching foundational life, learning, and employment skills? Join our upcoming Change it Up Facilitator Training in Spring 2021. Further details to be posted over the next couple of weeks.
“Imagination is the source of every human achievement.” Sir Ken Robinson.
Learn more: Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity