Green Springs Elementary Students Imagine and Create Their Future

Green Springs Elementary is working to prepare students for 21st Century jobs with a new innovation center designed to foster innovation and creativity. The renovated classroom space lets Gator Innovators explore a variety of open-ended materials, try endless possibilities, and imagine and design their own creations.

Students have access to creative materials such as Lego building blocks, kinetic sand, a robot, magnetic tiles, Squigz, gears, art supplies and more. The innovation center also includes sound mixing equipment for students to compose their own music.

Studies show that the traditional three Rs of education (reading, writing, and arithmetic) are no longer enough to prepare the next generation for new careers. Today’s students need to learn the four Cs - communication, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, and collaboration.

The project was the idea of Quest Teacher Lauranne Hess, but quickly became a team effort, with input from classroom teachers, specialists and parents. Green Springs staff even helped construct custom shelving for storing the materials. Parent volunteers helped pull the room together adding colorful inspirational posters and the Green Springs PTA will provide on-going support.

The Gator Innovators space will be used by classroom teachers and specialists to help students develop creativity, ingenuity, and innovation - keys to their future success.

The addition of the creative space was made possible with a spring 2018 $4,999 classroom grant from the Olathe Public Schools Foundation.

According to “The Partnership for 21st Century Skills,” creativity, ingenuity and innovation are keys in the evolving global economy. Many of the fastest-growing jobs and emerging industries rely on workers’ creative capacity – the ability to think unconventionally, question the herd, imagine new scenarios and produce astonishing work.

 “The rapid decline in “routine” work has been well documented by many researchers and organizations. At the same time, there has been a rapid increase in jobs involving non-routine, analytic, and interactive communication skills,” An Educator’s Guide to the 4 C’s by the National Education Association.

The National Education Association is a founding member of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a national advocacy organization that encourages schools, districts, and states to infuse technology into education. - Partnership for 21st Century Learning - National Education Association, “An Educator’s Guide to the 4 Cs”