When we ask children what ‘creativity’ is, their answer is invariably painting and drawing. In truth, creativity is so much more: it’s problem solving, ideas generation and innovation. It’s incredibly important to our state of mind, helping us with mindfulness, mitigating anxiety and helping to support our mental health. 

Creativity exists in all of us. In the morning, we wake up and get dressed. The process of selecting our clothes is based on factors like the weather outside and the activities of the day, but we also dress according to the mood we are in: we choose colours or patterns we like and match or mismatch them. We are problem-solving; we are being creative.

Without creativity there is no innovation: we stand still and, as a species, we do not adapt or evolve. 

Creative curriculum teaching strategies 

The Skills for 2030 report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) cites creativity as a key future skill, alongside critical thinking, learning to learn, self-regulation, collaboration, responsibility, and empathy. 

creative teaching

ootiboo takes the business of creativity seriously.

In our experience, schools struggle to find space for creativity in teaching. With rigid governmental structures, and a lack of time, resource and money, creative teaching often falls by the wayside. We are a young company of creatives and educators looking at ways to help schools tackle this challenge. 

Under the umbrella of creativity, ootiboo develops and delivers projects as online digital resources and, currently in the UK, as in-person workshops. Everything we create is free to schools and families to ensure inclusivity.

Teaching creativity 

We are constantly learning and adapting. We have evolved from creativity as the core focus of a project to employing creativity as a vehicle to engage schoolchildren in a more diverse range of topics like financial learning, empathy, healthy eating, and climate adaptation. Creative activities are interwoven into projects to increase engagement and impact. We explore what topics are important to schools, together with what we are passionate about to ensure the subject matter is fun.

creative curriculum teaching strategies

We are beginning to see a growth in ecology-based projects focused on the themes of climate adaptation and connection (how change in one part of the world affects another). Although ootiboo is based in the UK, our eCo projects provide a great opportunity to connect to schools anywhere in the world via these shared challenges.

The benefits of teaching through problem solving

In January 2024 we launched eCo: Svalbard. Designed for schools, the project explores the topics of glacier ice melt, permafrost and habitat loss with a backdrop of Svalbard, the most northerly settlement in the world – where humans are outnumbered by polar bears. The ootiboo team visited the island to film exclusive content for the project to be shown in schools, working closely with filmmaker and environmentalist Jannicke Mikkelsen to provide a local perspective on the challenges the islanders face. 

creative teaching

The videos from Jannicke support a six-part lesson plan, along with three creative activities. When learning about permafrost (permanently frozen ground) students mix sand, soil, stones and water, and place it into a freezer to create their own permafrost. They then build a simple house structure on stilts on top of their solid frozen ground. This mimics what happens in Svalbard, where houses are built on stilts to prevent the heat from homes melting the permafrost. The students’ creations are left to thaw to demonstrate how the ground becomes less stable, and they are then tasked to improve their designs to prevent their homes collapsing. Schools from the UK, Germany and Malta have participated so far.

Teaching innovation

Recently we launched eCo: Connect. Each term we pose a question from an environmental or sustainability expert to encourage debate among students. Teachers then share their thoughts and ideas in a moderated public forum. Both the contributors of the question and our ootiboo schools can reply to answers to expand the debate. The aim of the project is to connect the changemakers of today with kids worldwide to inspire them to become changemakers of tomorrow.  It also is an opportunity to give children a voice – something in which we strongly believe.

creative teaching methods

The first question for eCo: Connect comes from Marc Buckley, who wrote the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for the United Nations. He tasks schoolchildren anywhere in the world to come up with their own sustainable development goals – this time for 2051!

Creative teaching with ootiboo

ootiboo is growing and evolving all the time. We are constantly challenging what we do and actively encourage feedback and constructive criticism in order to perfect our offering. We encourage trial and error and the freedom to explore with students, so it is only right that we put this into practice in how we operate. Try, try, and try again is key to innovation.

And over time, we’ve realised that communication with schools is also all about trial and error. How to get seen, how to establish and maintain relationships, how to build trust, how to ensure we are relevant. Our insistence on being free to schools is sometimes met with suspicion – there’s no such thing as a free lunch! We have to work hard to make it clear that, in this instance, there are really no catches: it’s all free to schools, with no commitment or hidden costs. It’s very much a work in progress and a test of our problem-solving abilities. 

Synergy is the key, and this is how we see our relationship with schools. In simple terms, the more schools that engage with our content, the more we can attract investment from industry, which in turn enables us to create more free content to attract new schools to continue the cycle. 

Understanding the challenges schools face and what they need is essential: our team includes two ex-headteachers and a part-time current primary school teacher. We also invited some of our most engaged ootiboo schools to be part of an advisory group, helping to shape what we will become.

The positive impact we see with teachers and students is what drives us forward; it maintains our belief that we really can help make a difference.

Ootiboo creative teaching

Sign up for all our free ootiboo resources here! We look forward to collaborating with you to integrate more creative curriculum teaching strategies into your classroom soon. 

photo of author
Written by Angus Cameron
Angus is co-founder of creative learning company ootiboo. Following a 30-year career in the film industry, he has set his sights on raising awareness in education of the importance and value of creativity as problem solving and innovation. Working as a visual effects supervisor, Angus has lived and worked in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well as working on projects from Ecuador to Dubai. His mission is to spark a passion in curious young minds and encourage them to be the changemakers of tomorrow.
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