SPARK!, where creativity is unleashed

For the next three months, the 6th grade class at Uplift Peak will explore their creative potential through visits to SPARK!, a local non-profit focused on igniting the spark of creativity in all kids.  During their first visit, scholars were able to tap into their creativity through both physical activity and project creation.  Both Uplift and SPARK! have a shared
mission of reaching all children and providing access to programs regardless of background. 5-1

According to their website, SPARK! was founded in 2010 by Beverly Davis, Devon Davis and Amy Hite and inspired by the City Museum in St. Louis with the vision to “empower today’s youth to become the problem solvers and innovators of the future.”  Their research has found that children who self-define as creative have higher  self-esteem and perform better in school.  Uplift Peak MYP Dean Tina Green said she sees the benefit in exposing middle school scholars to more opportunities to be creative.

“A lot of times a program like this is aimed at elementary students and at times we don’t continue to encourage creativity in middle and high school students. It’s interesting to see how their creativity changes as they get older,” said Green.

During a hands-on exercise, scholars were asked to create animals out of cardboard pieces, glue and scissors while being as creative as possible with no right or wrong way of creation. There are various activities that are used at SPARK! to open children’s imagination and allow them to explore their creativity.

5-2 “To be creative do you have to be an artist?” asked Lynn Raines, Creative Guru at SPARK!

Scholars answered no which helped create a free environment for scholars to be themselves.

“I was excited to come to a place to show creativity and be open-minded to different things,” said Michael Harris, Uplift Peak 6th grader.
Scholars also had the opportunity to run loud, wild, and unleash energy throughout an interactive play space. This playground area is not a typical jungle gym. It was brought to life by many creative collaborators using various types of recyclable material. It is a bit of everyone’s imagination that has come to life to produce fun-filled energy. With tunnels in and out of walls to door knob sized swings, there is something for everyone.

“I think it’s a really cool opportunity to use IB traits in a different space then academics.
They get to explore and do various activities they don’t get to do in a classroom,” said Green.3

International Baccalaureate (IB) emphasizes a well-rounded education with equal emphasis on all subjects including art.  Scholars and teachers are both excited about this opportunity and to be able to bring academic learning and IB Learner Profile Traits like open-mindedness and risk-taking into this creative space. In time, scholars will grow their beliefs in their creative abilities and transform them into academic achievements.

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