Edition 3 | April 2013

Fuelling the Imagination & Igniting Understanding

Fuelling Imagination

Xarifa Gabales, Director 6-9 Environment

It is often thought that in order for a child to show their understanding they must be able to recite what has been presented to them by rote, they must answer our questions in a manner that satisfies our needs and if they cannot, then they obviously do not understand. However, it is possible to recite without actually understanding. What we seek is to provide opportunities for children to demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways that can show his or her true strength.

“Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.” 

Maria Montessori

Human history has been told from different points of view and has been speculated upon for many years. How did human beings, as we know them, come about? How do we know how they lived, what they ate, how they hunted? We cannot say for certain as there is no living person from that time to tell us. We use the common theories to tell the children a story of the coming of human beings, of how human beings came to be. We allow the children to imagine themselves as part of these changes in the people as well as the environment.

As part of their work, the children use their imagination to create beautiful work to demonstrate their interpretation and understanding of the material. Some children enjoy creating booklets with images and short written paragraphs, while others work with their hands to shape models and design dioramas. These representations can give us an insight into how the children have interpreted the information they have listened to during the lessons and discussions. A scene depicting an event or a model of a family group hunting and gathering can show how they have understood the importance of social groups in survival, or a scene of them cutting down trees can indicate how they understood how early human beings developed weapons and shelter.

We give the children an opportunity to understand the world, past and present, through stories that fuel their imagination and creativity. We give them the tools in which they can carve out their own understanding of the world around them and how they have come to be after all the work of humans before them.