Be a Creative Champion in Your Community

by Mala Sharma

posted on 04-26-2019

The one question that comes up repeatedly during my conversations with educators and parents is what they can do to foster creativity and creative problem-solving skills for youth. At Adobe I am fortunate to work with some of the most creative minds in the world, including employees who devote their free time to helping children develop their creativity and self-expression skills. For example, when she’s not working as a product manager for Creative Cloud, Nina Gholami volunteers with Project Cornerstone , a local Silicon Valley YMCA youth development initiative.

It takes a village to foster creativity

Nina’s work with Project Cornerstone is centered on helping young kids feel valued, respected and comfortable with both art and self-expression. Her goal is to build a web of support around children so they grow into healthy, caring and responsible adults.

“In Project Cornerstone, we teach fundamental concepts such as kindness, honesty, being an upstander to kindergarten students,” she said. “You would think these topics are too deep for kindergarteners. However, the children always amaze me when they express their understanding of the concepts as a work of art. Art seems to be such a natural medium for them to express their thoughts and create their own definition of the concepts.”

Kindergarten students artistically express what it means to be an upstander through a local Silicon Valley youth development program called Project Cornerstone (Courtesy of Nina Gholami).

In one of Nina’s recent projects, her kindergarten students used art to express what it means to be an upstander-a new word in today’s lexicon that means standing up for what you believe is right. As you can see from the examples below, this simple lesson brought creativity and self-expression to life for these young students.

Creativity is more accessible than ever before

National Kindergarten Day, which was celebrated earlier this week, serves as another reminder that the next generation of creators is on their way. Creativity and creative problem-solving needs to begin in early childhood education. Adobe is responding with tools to ensure the next generation, starting with kindergartners, is equipped to enable and foster their artistic expression. Digital tools now make creativity more accessible than ever before for children. Last year, Adobe introduced Gemini, a new app for illustrators. One of the things that I love about Gemini is that you don’t have to an artist to use it. Students can doodle any type of design they can imagine.

Creativity as a core tenet of student success

Studies show early childhood education plays an outsize role in adult success, providing people with soft skills and thought patterns that persist even as memories of the actual activities fade. I recently blogged about why art instruction should be a part of our students’ everyday lives – in essence, because creativity and creative problem-solving are two increasingly important skills as we move towards an AI-driven world.

Early exposure to creative learning provides children with real value that persists for decades, and these opportunities can be developed by anyone in the community. My ask of you is to join Nina and other creative champions in our communities to weave creativity and creative problem-solving into the fabric of education for all classrooms and communities.

Topics: Industry, Creativity, Education