Education for Sustainability is future oriented. In order to create the future we want, and need, we need to be able to envision what is not yet formed and dare to dream beyond our current reality.
Children are ‘natural dreamers‘ and use their vision and imagination all the time to explore new possibilities and stretch beyond their comfort zones. Sadly, in conventional education this is exactly what later becomes suppressed and controlled. We strongly encourage children to develop their creativity and natural vision and we believe this is an essential ability for learning how to co-create sustainable outcomes and solutions.
In the quest to a sustainable society the first challenge that people will meet, irrespective of where they live and their background, is that the old models and roadmaps that were created for very different systems and purposes cannot guide us to where we need to go. Indigenous knowledge can remind us of essential life principles that will never expire, yet the communication and sharing of these principles will need to be contextualized to different audiences and generations.
EFS supports children to develop their visionary abilities and creative abilities. This includes working with the teachers to (re)ignite their visions, dreams, and hopes for a better future and world, and their role as teachers for this. If teachers don’t dare to dream and have lost their vision it will be very difficult for them to inspire and support their students in the development of their visionary and creative abilities.
Our creative ability & arts and creativity
Creativity is often understood as Arts, in EFS, however we work with creativity first and foremost as our ‘creative ability’. In order to awaken and further develop our creative ability, creative thinking and arts can really help to tap into these potentials. Creative thinking is one of the most important life-skills to develop for sustainability. Our sustain-ability depends on our ability to be creative and innovative through which we can find new solutions, create new combinations, adapt to challenging situations, make more with less, and develop a positive future-oriented life-attitude.
In the EFS Programme we also facilitate visioning and dialogue sessions for teachers and students together, to explore how an educational system from a sustainable society would feel and look like from a future perspective, and to reflect on the purpose of education.
The following video from Sir Ken Robinson explains well where mainstream education has gone wrong, and how it is destroying the creativity and imagination in our children.
Sensing, imagining, thinking & reflecting
Through the works of Dr Ad Smitsman, the EFS programme trains teachers in systems principles for learning & development. In the programme, teachers learn that children are born natural system thinkers. With their ability of sensing and imagining still activated, this later become the basis for learning how to think and reflect. Dr Ad Smitsman, who has been a resource person for the EFS Programme since 2011, has made a valuable presentation about this. Click here to download his presentation.
The problem with our conventional education systems is that this teaches children to decouple sensing and imagining from thinking. By prioritizing development of thinking and rationalisation as a disconnected activity from sensing and imagining, thought processes become disconnect from relationship and rational concepts disconnected from the larger realities of life. Children learn to divide head and heart, and are discouraged to use their intuitive and creative abilities for thought-based exercises and activities. Even a subject like mathematics can include use of sensing, imagining, and visioning. The idea of EFS is NOT to teach separate classes for creativity, science, etc, but to embed activities for sensing, imagining, thinking and reflection at every subject and for all activities.