Spark the creativity in your leader!
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Artwork by Roxie Munro

Cool Cats Spotlight: Roxie Munro

by Judith Addington

Roxie Munro is one of the most creative people I know!  When I look at her work, it just makes me joyful!  Her books on mazes are incredibly amazing!  And her K.I.W.i  kid-sized backdrop story books for play, interactive learning and drama are unusually new, different and  innovative!  Imagine how a child might feel walking into one of these life-sized story books filled with color, dreams and imagination!

A leader has the child-like quality of an inquisitive mind.  Leaders often look at life through rainbow colored glasses, seeing the unusual, the unexpected and the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Leaders are known for developing humanity’s capacity for wonder and compassion.  By encouraging dreaming, free play and dramatic play, they are unleashing curiosity, choice,  imagination, and courageous risk taking into the world.  Dreams unleash imagination, so we should be encouraging children to dream more, not less.

  • It is the heart, not the mind, that lights the spark and directs inventiveness
  • We are teaching kids to be critical thinkers – to solve problems, risk, change, come up with new ideas, use their imagination
  • We are helping kids see NEW possibilities in the things people take for granted
  • The future  belongs to interdisciplinary thinkers and artists-people who can integrate across disciplines 

To Spark Creativity in Leaders

by Roxie Munro

"Life is more fun when you play games," Roald Dahl once wrote.
To raise a creative, original, and independent child - a leader and an influencer who thinks outside the box - it is necessary that the child has time to daydream, and to play. Every minute shouldn’t be filled with activities, homework, chores. A child should learn to be alone (which is necessary to let ideas percolate and foster creativity), but should also have time to play with others, which teaches children social interaction (animals use playful games to learn how to deal with conflict and group communication).
The Duke of Wellington said that “… the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” Play is training for life. Schools should not cut recess time, teach just for testing, and minimize art and music classes. According to a recent Joan Ganz Cooney Center report, teachers who play are more likely to bring joy into their classrooms.
Engaging in games helps children with concentration, setting goals, and problem-solving, as well as helping them collaborate (many games allow multiple players), persevere, and celebrate achieving goals. Many games, and mazes in particular, help children learn decision-making and critical thinking skills. They make them think ahead and plan steps in advance. Mazes teach alternative ways to solve problems and judge spatial relationships. For younger children, they help develop fine motor skills; for older children, maneuvering through mazes improves handwriting. Game formats are particularly suited to reluctant readers, boys, and special needs children. And they’re fun!
Roxie shows us how to draw a wise and strong owl from her book, Hatch!

Roxie Loves the Kids!

Children, in the Q&A part of my school visits, have asked, "How do you make them [the illustrations] so beautiful?" That is the point: children understand, appreciate, and deserve decent art. We should not "talk down" to them. We should not give them generic, simple, or computerized "visuals," usually full of bright colors, just because they are children. Young people recognize and deserve to be exposed to quality, carefully-executed art.
Follow Roxie on social media to keep up with her latest and greatest!

The Decline of Play and Rise in Children's Mental Disorders

by Peter Gray, Ph.D.
Allowing your children to be creative is one of the first steps in raising an independent thinker. Giving them the tools they need to succeed includes giving them the freedom of control. Dr. Gray touches on the fact that being "out of control" correlates with the decline of free play and intrinsic goals, and a rise in anxiety and depression.
"By depriving children of opportunities to play on their own, away from direct adult supervision and control, we are depriving them of opportunities to learn how to take control of their own lives. We may think we are protecting them, but in fact we are diminishing their joy, diminishing their sense of self-control, preventing them from discovering and exploring the endeavors they would most love, and increasing the odds that they will suffer from anxiety, depression, and other disorders."
Roxie Munro has been busy receiving awards for years! She is no stranger to the spotlight. One of her impressive titles is "The Inside-Outside Book of Libraries": A School Library Journal Starred Review; a SLJ Best Book of the Year; Smithsonian Notable Books for Children; American Booksellers Pick of the Lists; Horn Book Guide Starred Review; Finalist: Nevada Young Readers Award; Rhode Island Children’s Book Award nomination; Lasting Connections, ALA; Texas Reading Club; San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle “Editor’s Choice”; Bank Street College Best Book Choice; Children's Crown Award Nominee.

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Don't miss a single blog from our Chief Cool Cat, Judith Addington, or any one of our guest bloggers. The Cool Cats blog has a variety of inspirational leadership stories, parenting tips, leadership tools, and much more for parents, educators, and people interested in developing a generation of future leaders. 

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