‘It’s now widely recognised that developing children’s creative abilities is essential in itself and a vibrant pathway to learning and achievement in all areas of the curriculum. What many people seem to understand less are the practical implications for teaching, for the curriculum and for the culture of education more generally. 5x5x5=creativity is a long term collaborative project that brings together children, teachers, researchers and cultural organisations from across the country to fathom together the principles and practice of creative education. The project is unique in several ways: in its collaborative structure, in its long term vision and in how it uses rigorous research practices to enlighten and evaluate the processes of creative teaching and learning. The work of 5x5x5=creativity is national in scope and international in significance. I’m delighted to be counted among its patrons and to benefit, along with many others, from its findings and insights.’
Sir Ken Robinson, Author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts
‘The principles and philosophy of 5x5x5 resonate so strongly with those of the Early Years Foundation Stage.’
Sally Jaeckle, Service Manager for Early Years Services in Bristol
‘5x5x5=creativity is a visionary, ground-breaking project which demonstrates the depth of learning fostered through exquisitely sensitive creative partnership. Children and adults involved in 5x5x5 are sowing seeds of systemic change in our education system, well beyond early years and primary, into secondary, further and higher education phases.’
Dame Tamsyn Imison, education strategist
‘5x5x5 has helped develop the staff’s awareness of the importance of adults supporting the schematic development of each child by the use of skilfully facilitated child-initiated activities. We have been able to identify the learning dispositions of the children more acutely; the outcome being that the learning has become more robust, resilient and meaningful.
A significant part of our research has concluded that children on the periphery of any group (hard to reach, lacking in confidence…) will participate and fully engage in their learning if they are genuinely listened to and valued; their contributions shared and celebrated. 5x5x5 has facilitated full participation by all present.
From a CPD view the staff could not help but be involved in deep levels of reflection and evaluation. 5x5x5 has provided a framework of support, training and challenge.
Whilst involved in the research we have worked with mentors, the evaluation team, artists, advisors and many other settings. Each year the exhibition and conference have given the school community opportunities to share and celebrate their experiences with many settings and colleagues who have a national profile in education. This has created a crucible of experience, talent and passion which has become the catalyst for an ever-deepening understanding of the human capacity for learning.’
Anne Forrest, Head of Freshford Primary School
‘5x5x5 has provided an opportunity for one section of the school to reflect deeply on how the unique individual creativity that we all aspire to nourish in each of our children can be effectively kindled. We know it is there. We know we want to give it an appropriately sacred place in the learning environments we set up.
We are equally aware that schools can be at odds with this whole dynamic, by their very nature; good schools, bad schools (whatever that means) just schools. So the real agenda is not about the creation of Utopia. The real agenda is about the battle for the best deal we can get for our children. That means reflection and a great deal of hard work. Although the direct impact of the research has been on Reception children opportunities for wider debate across the phase are being explored and the project will, I hope, provide a rallying point for a wealth of good practice from Reception to Year 6.’
Pete Mountstephen, Head of St Stephen’s Primary School
‘The 5x5x5 project has encouraged our children to identify their creative abilities. Children have taken staff on a real learning journey highlighting their interests, strengths and the importance of their imagination. All the children have taken risks along the way especially during our time at Willsbridge and have grown in confidence as a result. It has given the children the opportunity to express themselves and develop as imaginative and creative thinkers. From having time to observe and reflect staff now have a deeper understanding of how particular children research the world and how they communicate their thoughts and ideas.’
Lucy Taylor, Head of Marksbury School
‘St Saviours Nursery and Infant School has been working with the 5x5x5 project for 5 years. During this time the school has been developing creative approaches to teaching and learning, and 5x5x5 has been a vital part of this process. It has provided challenging professional development for the staff involved, helping them to better understand the many natures of creativity, and exploring the ways that we can hinder and encourage it within our school. It has introduced staff to a research model which has been used for our curriculum development, and has been instrumental in helping us to focus on the potential of documentation as a vital part of learning. The project work has led to the redesigning of our roleplay provision, has helped to reinforce the importance of creative play, has reminded us about the value of outdoor learning, and has given the children some extraordinary experiences that the school alone could never have provided.’
Ed Harker, Head of St Saviours Nursery and Infant School
‘Twerton Infant School have been members of the 5x5x5 project – creativity in the Early Years for over three years. During this project we have researched ways to encourage positive learning attitudes and develop skills of research, investigation and problem solving in young children. The positive gains we have seen in children’s attainment have encouraged us to utilise our research to invigorate our teaching and learning practice throughout the Foundation Stage (and into Key Stage 1). We are developing and testing this philosophy by reassessing the content and delivery of the whole curriculum. The main features of this strategy are:
- children having an active part in initiating and planning their own learning with teachers collaborating as partners
- enabling children to review their learning and participate in planning the next steps
- making key skills, such as collaboration and problem solving, central to our teaching and learning
- making the existing learning environment much more flexible and exploring different working areas both inside and out
- being proud of where we live and using the local areas, such as street markets, as starting points for projects
- making the structure of the day less constricting to allow for longer periods of concentrated involvement
- creating a learning community involving parents and the wider community and celebrating this learning through photographic displays of learning in action
We can now see evidence of
- children developing powerful skills in questioning, problem solving and investigating. They tell us what they want to learn!
- children in control and excited by their learning
- collaboration both with children and adults -working together to solve problems, share resources and ask each other’s opinion and advice
- children believing in creative possibilities -an anything is possible culture
- parental support understanding and interest in what children are doing
- children’s concentration and interest increased
- children’s improved behaviour and increased self-esteem
- children’s improved attainment now measurable in Foundation Stage Profile (and KS1 SATs results which are now above the national average)
We understand that our children need to be actively involved in their learning, both emotionally and physically. We aim to instill the positive attitudes and skills to empower our children to become life-long learners. We believe our developing practice enhances our school’s promise to children and parents.’
Jayne Rochford Smith, Reception teacher, Twerton Infant School