Jim Trelease sent me Einstein’s quote, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Jim knew this would strike me, and it did. All that I do in teaching is centered on creativity. And of course fun is essential in order to make sure that it sticks. So, does that mean I’m stimulating intelligence? No, it means I’m striking the match- that lights the fuse- that stimulates intelligence. Wow!
Thus began my love affair with Albert Einstein.
As a young child Einstein was a late talker, after the age of two. And then, he had unnatural pauses in his speech. The family maid said he was “a dope.” School wasn’t much better. Einstein said:
It’s almost a miracle that modern teaching methods have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry, for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom.
Yes. YES! Why do some teachers unknowingly strangle the curiosity of inquiry? Are they afraid to open the door and encourage children ask questions? Are they worried that they won’t be able to fit in all the required material in the curriculum? When things get too off track in my classroom, I tell the child, “Hold that thought. Don’t forget it!” And, I return to that thought later on. Oh, if I forget, you bet the child will remind me!
All of this is stimulation. Stimulation of the brain, and also the heart. Einstein was right when he compared a child to a little plant, needing stimulation and freedom. Freedom to think and to question. Freedom to run and use their body. Movement triggers neurons in the brain. Add music to the mix, and learning sticks. Really.
Einstein had a lifelong passion for music. He played the violin at age six (music and math go hand in hand). Classical music was his favorite, especially Mozart.
Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I see it as a reflection of the inner beauty of the universe.
I have music in my classroom every day. We listen to classical music, dance and move to a variety of songs, learn patriotic songs, and even have fun with rock & roll. We get to listen to, feel and touch different instruments. In Einstein’s words, it’s all stimulation and freedom, and curiosity of inquiry.
My favorite Einstein quotes:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
“The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
“It’s not that I’m smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”