Catherine Reding, Sightlines Initiative Members Newsletter 2014 Children’s Imagination: Creativity under our noses a book by Ursula Kolbe.
This thoughtful, inspiring and beautifully presented book, particularly intended for families, sets out to illustrate to adults just how creative children are and can be. It is a passionate celebration both of children’s potential for creative endeavour, and of the role of adults in supporting and nurturing them. Ursula Kolbe uses her observations of children (aged between one-and-a-half and ten) at play showing instances of their curiosity, imagination and creative thinking; her thoughtful analyses help the reader to understand the processes underlying children’s thoughts and actions. The book is divided into two parts, exploring two important questions: firstly, “What sparks children’s imagination?” and secondly, “What can we do to nourish and support their creative thinking?”

I hope that this book finds its way into the hands of parents who, seeing their own children brimming with curiosity and imagination, would like some guidance and encouragement in how to respond. I hope it helps to give parents the confidence that children don’t need expensive clever toys to be creative, that they don’t need hours of art lessons, or models or instructions to follow. That what they do need is the nurturing care of adults willing to give them time to dream, to wonder, to explore and create, to try things out and make mistakes; and for those adults to recognise just how inventive, resourceful and creative their children really are. 

Excerpt from Sightlines Initiative Members Newsletter (UK), October 2014
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Pam Oken-Wright, Amazon Books
In the middle of the tug of war between the grace of childhood and the desire of others far from the child to measure his mind, parents and teachers of young children can find clarity in “Children’s Imagination, Creativity Under Our Noses.” In this gentle, beautiful book, Ursula Kolbe shows stories of children making their imaginations visible in many different media. Through photographs, images of children’s work, and short, accessible explanations and interpretations, she shows what can happen when we give children time and space to explore materials and to engage the imagination. Kolbe shines a light on small, ordinary things that might be overlooked, like the power of the size or shape of a canvas to inspire ideas (“Space speaks to the imagination,” she says, on page 31), or what can be learned from paying attention to the child’s language-in-process as he draws, as well as to the product (p. 47). At the end of each chapter, Kolbe holds a conversation with parent, Susan Whelan, offering a second perspective on the stories just told. The stories in this book are mostly about children at home. But everything in the book will inspire teachers of young children, too. In the penultimate chapter, “Reflections to build on,” Kolbe says, “And, as we’ve seen, creative thinking depends on purposeful engagement. Moreover, a steady diet of adult-chosen one-off activities denies children opportunities to find the extraordinary in the ordinary for themselves.” (p. 73). It seems to me that helping adults see the extraordinary in children’s “ordinary” making is the work of this book.’s-Imagination-Creativity-Under-Noses

Tania McCartney 2014
At the end of each section, Ursula enters into discussion with Susan Whelan who shines a motherhood light on the concepts that unfold. I found this ‘conversation’ between two very creative, child-centric women absolutely fascinating.

Children’s Imagination is a must-read for parents, educators and anyone intent on harnessing and growing the emotional intelligence and creative depth of children. The imaginative concepts featured in this book will help adults open the door to any child’s creative core, offering them learnings that will last right through adulthood, and, I truly believe, aid and abet the happiest life possible—that lived by the heart.”

Reena Bilen, 2014
I loved reading this book as I found it both instructive and inspiring. I especially liked the format of the book with case studies of different children and their play. Also useful was the addition of a parent’s perspective which I could completely connect with. This is provided by local Newcastle mum of three Susan Whelan. Through their written conversations, Ursula and Susan discuss the key points of the chapter and I found this really helped with my understanding of concepts.’s-imagination-ursula-kolbe/

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