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Applied Learning Programme (ALP): Creative and Inventive Thinking Programme
Cedar Primary School was one of the Pilot schools for PAL (Programme for Active Learning) and the school decided to explore LEGO Education as one of its PAL electives. LEGO Education was chosen as a means of developing the students’ aesthetics awareness and also to promote creative thinking as the students were tasked to create artefacts to represent their impressions and solutions to community issues. This diversified further into the introduction of the creation of Science Toys for the Primary 3-5 students who are tasked to create toys based on specified scientific principles.
The purpose of Creative and Inventive Thinking (CIT) Programme is twofold. It aims to
- optimise the potential offered in PAL and Science curricula, and build on the knowledge and skills our students have acquired in LEGO Education and Science Toy to hone the students’ capacity for higher order thinking;
- groom our students to be active contributors to the community. This is achieved by providing the students age-appropriate community issues to deliberate on and arrive at suggestions or solutions to address the respective issues. Our students will thus be equipped with a problem solving mindset and realise that they can make a difference to the community around them, through the solutions and artefacts that they are able to offer and create.
We incorporate our school values and CCE domains into the CIT Programme to ensure that our school values are lived rather than merely espoused values. Providing our students the relevant platforms will therefore be an important component for the students’ growth and learning. Through the VIA (Values In Action) programme, all Cedarians will be provided opportunities both in school and without (i.e. at home, charitable organisations and the Potong Pasir and Sennett Estate community) to implement CIT. Thus all Cedarians will be able to develop a deeper appreciation of their capacity to generate values-based solutions to meet community needs and thus learn to become contributing citizens, despite their tender age.
Creative and Inventive Thinking (CIT) Programme is a school-wide programme that aims to develop and enhance students’ learning attitude and thinking skills, particularly in the areas of creativity and critical thinking. As problem contexts are based on issues faced by the community, this programme complements the “Values in Action” (VIA) programme conducted as part of Character and Citizenship Education (CCE).
Our CIT Programme is based on the broad principles of Creative Problem Solving created by Isaksen, Dorval and Treffinger (2000). The CIT Programme helps students to understand challenges and opportunities, generate ideas, and develop effective plans for solving problems and managing change. As shown in figure 1, Creative Problem Solving includes four main components and eight specific stages.
Figure 1: Creative Problem Solving
A simplified Creative Problem Solving approach, the CREATE methodology (see below), was implemented by the school for the CIT Programme to guide students when they design appropriate solutions to address everyday problems faced by their immediate community.
To optimise the learning opportunities for our students, we also tap on the partnerships with our parents and the community. For example, parents could be roped in to help assess students’ involvement and commitment to VIA at home. This will help to reinforce the values that students have acquired. Partnerships with the community provide our students the platforms to practise 21st century competencies in communication and collaborations as our students contribute ideas and solutions to address community based issues.
Isaksen, S. G., Dorval, K. B., & Treffinger, D. J. (2000). Creative approaches to problem solving. (2nd Ed.).Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.