“People will pride themselves on being “down to earth,” “realistic,” and “no-nonsense,” and deride those who “have their heads in the clouds.” And yet, far more than any other power, imagination is what sets human beings apart from every other species on earth. Imagination underpins every uniquely human achievement. Imagination led us from caves to cities, from bone clubs to golf clubs, from carrion to cuisine, and from superstition to science.”
– The Element by Ken Robinson
When I was at school, I was criticised for being in “a world of my own.” Of course now I write books for a living (even then I wrote stories, all the time) so it’s worked out fine for me.
I see a lot of me in Harry. While he was at school, he spent a lot of time creating imaginary worlds. This was done at playtime, of course. He had a ‘dance school’ (inspired by watching Strictly) and a ‘kissing shop’. He and his best friend set up a base at a tree and all of their imaginative play centred around that one spot. Often, walking home, his entire conversation would be about what various ‘pretend friends’ had done that day.
When I went for parents’ evening in Year 1, Harry’s teacher said, “The things Harry’s good at – imagination and creativity – aren’t the things that are valued by school.” How sad is that? Because – as Ken Robinson says in the quote above – imagination and creativity are pretty important things for life. They’ve been extremely important in my life and I want them to be important in my children’s lives too.