Creating Circles and Schools Fostering Creativity


Sir Ken Robinson

"Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status."

— Sir Ken Robinson Ph.D., 2006 TED Talk Lecture

Sir Robinson is coming out with a new book, “You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education.”

A recent article in NPR by Elissa Nadworny1 indicates this book will be as ground-breaking as Sir Robinson’s other books (too many to list here, my other favorite is “The Element”).

This book helps parents select schools that will foster creativity in their children. Among the criteria pointed out in Nadworny’s article, Robinson suggests seeking a balanced curriculum. This means a curriculum that has equal parts arts and academics. Also, to observe the hallways and see if they highlight (or exhibit) works of students. Creative schools develop a culture where children are not afraid to risk or fail, rather than one where failure makes children feel stupid or like flunkies.


To accentuate that point, I would also recommend the book, “Happier,” by Tal Ben-Shanar, Ph.D.. Dr. Shanar teaches the contents of this book in the most popular course at Harvard University.

In Chapter 8, of his book, Dr. Ben-Shanar speaks about being happier through relationships. He reports on a study by Psychologist, David W. Winnicott, who examined toddlers and found them to be more creative when they were within a certain radius of their mothers. Winnicott’s phrase for this was, “Circle of Creativity.” This is how Ben-Shahar describes it; “The circle of creativity is a space in which children can take risks and try things out, fall and stand up again, fail and succeed—because they feel secure and safe in the presence of a person who loves them unconditionally.”2

Part of the task of this life is to create our own circles of creativity by expanding relationships with people who seek our dignity without conditions.

In dealing with children who have high ACE Scores (Adverse Childhood Experiences), this is even more imperative. Trauma has often left their circle of healthy relationships very limited (or nonexistent) and inhibited their ability to expand that circle in the future.

Therefore, expanding those relationships—social capital—for children in the foster system is critical if they are going to live creatively and with joy.


1 Elissa Nadworny, How To Find A School Your Kids Will Love (And That You Will, Too), nprED, March 14, 2018,

2 Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D, McGraw Hill, 2007


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