October 30, 2017

Dear Campus School Families,

There is a tree stump on our playground, right below my office. Over time, its
interior has begun to decay and soften. Our students have taken this as an
opportunity to engage in some very imaginative destructive construction. They
have begun to hollow out an inner ring of the stump, leaving the center in place
(for now) and using the stump in a number of creative ways. They stand in it.
They construct bridges over the hollowed out section. They build "lakes" within
it. They sculpt it. They put rocks and stones in, around, and on it. (And they use
the rocks as tools to shape it.)

All this from a tree stump!

And this leads to a simple observation: imagination really is the currency of
childhood. It does not take much to fire a child's imagination or to keep it
happily (and constructively) engaged. I do believe that encounters with the
natural world, like the ones our students are having with a tree stump, some
rocks, water, and dirt, deliver an even more profound experience. Imaginative
play within the natural world, or utilizing natural materials, can bring a deep
sense of satisfaction and connection.

Some research shows we lose our imaginative capacity as we age, primarily
because we wall it off in order to "succeed" or "adapt" to a world that
sometimes asks for too much conformity. This is one of many reasons why
imaginative play is so necessary for children - and important for adults, too.