Over the years I’ve written many an “About me” page or a catchy mission statement. I can imagine I talked about the importance of curiosity and creativity in early childhood. I probably had a little pop at the education system and the current lack of room in the curriculum for creativity or the poorly named, yet vital soft skills. Quickly followed by stating the benefits for children of imagination, play and risk taking. After all, these are the things that I had spent the last 10 years plus working on. I started Oglee Poglee because I wanted to celebrate children’s ideas and their unique talents.
Life however has a funny way of making you take stock. Some big moments in life force you to stop, you gasp for breath and although at the time it’s terrifying you look back and see that it’s the first time you have taken some time to think. You press the reset button, and a new life begins, one with focus, where following your true purpose is essential.
I believe wholeheartedly in the things mentioned above but they are not my biggest “why”. I believe it’s essential for children to been seen and heard for who they truly are. Not what we want them to be, not the vision we held for them before they were born but for the unique individuals they are right now. A child who grows up feeling seen and heard becomes a thriving, happy and fulfilled adult.
Children are incredible, I believe they are sent to us as a gift. Dr Seuss knew what he was talking about when he said, “adults are just outdated children”. Children are the latest edition, they get to ride on the shoulder of giants, guiding and leading us with fresh eyes/new insights into a future of infinite possibilities. Children live in the moment and see what is there, they are less clouded by the beliefs, habits and societal constructs that us adults live by. Can a child’s imagination help us learn from past experiences and anticipate future ones? Looking at it that way, you might say a child’s imagination is a highly valuable resource. I like to think it’s possibly the more precious resource we have, and wow have I learnt a lot from working with children. The thing is, it only works if the adults are listening and are open to seeing things from a new perspective. Open to treating a child as an equal, a fellow human being who matters, who is capable and has something of value to share. It sounds simple yet you will be surprised how little freedom of expression children have today.
So that’s my purpose, to create opportunities where children have the time and space to truly express themselves. To share their thoughts and ideas without judgement or constraints. A place where exploration, authenticity and ideas of all magnitudes are celebrated. Oglee Poglee embraces childhood wonder, it’s where children can be the creative pioneer they were born to be.
It’s a myth that creativity is just art, design and crafts. Schools like to have subjects and separate the creative from the academic. Creativity is applied imagination, a process of coming up with new ideas and it requires a new way of looking and thinking about things. Fundamentally creativity isn’t about a specific activity, you can be creative in absolutely every pursuit in life whether you are an illustrator or a lawyer. NESTA, The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts agrees, citing creativity as “the most significant predictor for the likelihood of growth for an occupation between now and 2030/2”.
We are all born to create, yet whether we grow up to consider ourselves ‘creatives’ largely depends on whether we’ve had our innate creativity nurtured and have been taught the value of creative thinking. At Oglee Poglee we nurture creativity by playing, exploring and inventing with cardboard. The simplest and most wonderful of materials, cardboard has been my go-to medium for self-expression since I was a tiny tot. A cardboard box was always my favourite toy, a blank canvas for a big imagination. Kids love cardboard, which is perfect because it’s readily available, often free and easily recyclable. It’s that simple, using cardboard Oglee Poglee supports children to discover and celebrate their whole selves. For when a child can really immerse themselves in who they were born to be, that unique magic within them is going to shine out and light up the world.
So a big "Hello and welcome" from me. I'm Claire Gillespie the founder of Oglee Poglee and I help children play with cardboard. Are you coming to play?