While a focus on academic skills is essential in order to enable us to flourish in the modern world, young people today are not given the opportunity to fully develop their creative, ‘right-brained’ skills through their intuitive and imaginative faculties. Happy individuals and a healthy society depend on a balance of the two. In the UK last autumn, a new law was introduced into the national curriculum for all under-fives in nursery schools, to assess 500 developmental milestones between birth and primary school involving writing, problem solving and numeracy skills. This structured ‘tick-box’ approach to education, which also extends to after-school and youth clubs, only serves to develop the academic, ‘left-brains’ of our children.
The curriculum, with its ever-increasing developmental targets that focus on results and statistics, has little imagination, originality, or spiritual purpose. Albert Einstein once famously said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Mainstream schools cannot possibly nurture the educational needs of young people today because they lack the flexibility to accommodate an individual’s unique way of learning in order to maximise their potential. It is obvious that we all learn in different ways and develop at different rates. Yet, the current education system pushes young people to conform and succeed – if they are unable to do that, they are labelled as failures. A ‘proper’ education should nourish the soul, not break it.