Children come to school ready and eager to learn. Schools could be centers where children identify problems and develop novel responses. Yet, all too often, formal educational experiences, beginning with children’s earliest experiences in schools, stifle children’s natural inclinations to innovate. On the Inspiring Agents of Change project, Opal School, the Portland Children’s Museum Center for Learning, and Project Zero carried out a practice-based study of the learning conditions likely to support inventiveness in early childhood and primary school. The main goals of the project were to: 1) map a framework that invites, sustains, and extends inventive dispositions in schools; and 2) develop related practices, strategies, and examples that illustrate how inspiring inventiveness can be embedded across learning experiences in schools. As a result of this work, we have developed a set of principles, practices, and tools that supports inventive thinking in children ages 3-11 which can be found at “A Framework for Inspiring Inventiveness” on the Opal School website. Individual tools are also available on the resources page of this site. Educators are encouraged to share their experiences using these “Inspiring Inventiveness” resources on social media at #pzopalinventiveness.

Project Info

FUNDERS: Lemelson Foundation, Portland Children's Museum