Next week is the last week of the semester. After four months of studying, I’ve got quite a few essay deadlines sneaking up on me. I’ve learned something about college essays: it’s not enough to regurgitate the words of your professor or a textbook. As a college student, we are expected to develop our own ideas. There are many intelligent and capable students who struggle with the transition to college-level writing because they spent the first twelve years of their education repeating memorized information. This is why I believe that creative writing should play a stronger role in elementary school curricula in order to encourage independent and critical thinking.
Neuroscience research has revealed a heavy impact of various forms of arts instruction, such as creative writing, on students’ cognitive, social, and emotional development. Children reaching adolescence become more flexible in their thinking and are able to think about the world more abstractly. A more informal, but still prioritized, approach to writing, would allow a more psychologically beneficial syllabus for the learning experience and retention of younger children.
A solution to this problem is the Young Writer’s Program, an educational program geared toward elementary school children. The Young Writer’s Program provides educators with a detailed writing curriculum program designed specifically for students in grades 3-5. Unlike many language arts programs in public schools, it focuses primarily on fiction, featuring innovative lesson plans such as “The Elements of a Story,” “Creating Villains,” and “Writing with all Your Senses.” Classroom kits, student workbooks, and Common Core-adapted curricula are also available for registered educators.
Participant Julia Fox said she learned how to really write instead of just answering multiple-choice questions on how to write. She said, “Tests are important, but are not the only way to find out what kids can do. I know I am not the best test taker, so multiple choice tests aren’t always the best way to show my abilities. And I wouldn’t want to just learn how to score better on them.”
While creative writing can be used for recreational purposes, it is of much more value than a mere pastime; it requires organization, planning, discovery of thoughts, and rejection of restrained thinking. These skills impact students for their whole lives, which is why it is so crucial to implement early on in their education.