Imagination has always been my passion. My first trip to Disneyland had me hooked. As an annual pass holder, my friends and family know that I often go to Disneyland just to soak up the creativity—the vibes of thinking big and out of the box.
I believe that imagination is how inventors create, how social problems are solved, and how progress continues at the speed of light. Computer technology is just one example of 21st Century imagination at its finest. Well, yes, it can also be frustrating at times.
There’s plenty of information about imagination...I have a collection of articles about high-profile people who believe in its value. Anthony Robbins thinks “Imagination is ten times more potent than willpower.” Albert Einstein thought it was more important than knowledge. I personally believe imagination is what will fuel our future with answers to social, political, environmental and financial issues in addition to continuing the advancement of business and technology.
So I asked myself the question, “How do we teach imagination to our youth to ensure future growth and development?” Using our imagination is not an exact science making it difficult to design specific curriculum with measureable results. Still, I am convinced it is an important investment we need to make. I believe the more opportunities we provide for our children to explore creative thinking, there is an increased potential for them to be confident in their own creative ideas to achieve greater success in their lives.
I was an elementary school teacher and wrote two supplemental teacher education books. I care deeply about the education of our children—this nation’s number one resource. Twenty years ago I experienced first-hand the challenges of budget cuts using my own money to pay for those extras every teacher wants for his or her class. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for teachers of today.
Motivated to combine my passions for books and imagination, I established the nonprofit, Imagination Now. The mission is to provide books with an interactive learning experience that helps build children’s confidence in their creative ideas to achieve greater success. Imagination Now presents a “field trip” experience without leaving the classroom.
A children’s book author visits a classroom, reads the book, engages students in Q&A dialogue and motivates them to use their imagination to achieve greater success in school, at home and beyond. The author talks about parts of a book, rhyming words and how the story idea and artwork came together. This could be just the seed that inspires students to access their own creativity more often. Many famous people point to a particular experience in their childhood that triggered their imagination.
While the teacher leads the class in a related writing or art activity, each child receives an autographed copy of the book during one-on-one time with the author. It’s lively, fast-paced and endorsed by principals, teachers and the children who have already experienced a Classroom Activity Managed Program (CAMP). The program is easy to implement with a Teacher’s Guide that provides the simple preparation necessary for success. Ona Sandi, principal of Holder Elementary School said the CAMP program was a “homerun” and Kimberly Sayers, a teacher at Holder said, “The program really helped students get excited about books, learning and creative thinking.”
With the economic downturn causing major cutbacks in schools, extra programs and activities focused on creative expression have been drastically reduced or completely eliminated. Imagination Now was established in response to this need without costs to public schools and other children’s organizations. Imagine that!
Teachers and principals are encouraged to call Imagination Now and schedule a CAMP program. If you know of a teacher or have a child in K-2 grade, please be an ambassador and let your child’s teacher know about this opportunity. They will thank you for doing so.
For more information visit www.ImaginationNow.org or contact Cheryl Russell, (714) 299-1847.