2021: The year of Imagination

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No Hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

(John Lennon)

There is no doubt that children have wonderful imaginations. They see the world in a different way to the way adults so often view the world as they discover everything for the first time, learning, interpreting, making sense of and imagining. This year the focus on Imagination from the Carey Attributes of a Positive Learner is a challenge for the ELC team – capturing the thoughts and ideas of the attribute and making it visible.

‘I use my imagination to form new ideas visualise and explore possibilities’

Early in the year we offered the provocation of the book Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, and all children from our staff childcare room to the Oak and Bay room chose a box to take home and to ‘imagine’ something else, with support and collaboration from any member of the family or friends.

The resulting imaginations have been fantastic, wild and silly, creative and fun a true testament to making imagination visible. Luckily, we were able to display them all over the Centre and it was a time when parents and visitors were able to enter and see the wonderful display of imagination. The children are still interested and reflective of their work and appreciative and interested in their friends’ creations with incidental conversations about the ‘not a box’.

Imagination for social justice
As we approached our annual social justice PJ Days, I was drawn to the idea of imagination again, but in a different way, focussing on the definition of ‘forming new ideas and visualising and exploring possibilities’. Our ELC children truly need to use their imagination to grasp the idea of homelessness. This allows them to form new ideas and to visualise what homelessness is and what it looks like. Thank you to Janine de Pavia, Junior School Chaplain, for her skill, talent and sensitivity in helping the children understand the concept. The children are called to ‘imagine possibilities’: what can they do that might make a difference to these people who don’t have a home or a bed, so don’t wear PJs? How hard is that to imagine what it’s like when you have a consistent roof over your head and selection of PJs and a cosy and comfortable bed? What might we imagine our world would look like without homelessness?

Understanding the problem and some of the ways we can help is the first step. The next step is to imagine what could be. Developing a strong sense of social justice, being aware of those less fortunate and understanding our responsibility to make a difference is a cornerstone of Carey’s foundations. Children are taught to expand their thinking outside their own experience, and to learn empathy. Raising awareness and raising money (the GoFundMe page was amazing this year) has enabled the children’s understanding that we can take practical action to help others. The next step is to use our ‘imagination to form new ideas, visualise and explore possibilities’. I wonder what the years ahead might bring from the children who have been a part of this important process.

My thanks to all of you for your support for the annual PJ Day, not just this year but in the past and into the future we go. It has been a privilege to be committed to this event and Melbourne City Mission, to see the children’s growing understanding of social justice over the years grow and blossom.

Wendy Seidler
Director of ELC Kew