Creative Learning

NPR and The Clubhouse Network Agree: “Making Art is Good for Your Health”

A Clubhouse member draws using a 3D pen.

By Stephanie Rosario Rodriguez, Knowledge Manager

Recent NPR Podcast Highlights Values and Principles Present in Clubhouse Learning Model

The Clubhouse Network Learning Model is designed to empower youth from all backgrounds to become more capable, creative, and confident lifelong learners. Through making and tinkering, youth can develop not just technical skills, but life skills such as the ability to problem-solve, mental flexibility, and deepen empathy towards their peers. The most recent episode of NPR’s “Life Kit” entitled “Making Art Is Good for Your Health. Here’s How to Start A Habit,” highlights many of the guiding principles behind The Clubhouse Network Learning Model.

In fact, the first Life Tip that NPR lists is “You don’t need to be an artist with a capital ‘A.’” In Mitch Resnick’s book, Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers and Play he explains that a common misconception about creativity that it is a special skill reserved for a small subset of the population, when in fact every individual can be creative. Resnick, co-founder of The Clubhouse Network, mentions the difference between “Big-C Creativity” (inventions that revolutionize, renowned artists, etc.) and “little-c creativity,” the day to day ways that we work on improving our lives. He says, “the invention of the paper clip was Big-C Creativity; every time someone comes up with a new way to use a paper clip in everyday life, that’s little-c creativity” (Resnick, 2017, p. 19).

In their second tip, Life Kit advises that one should “Start with what you enjoy.” The podcast speaks to Girija Kaimal, a professor at Drexel University who says that “anything that engages your creative mind — the ability to make connections between unrelated things and imagine new ways to communicate — is good for you.” At The Clubhouse, we know that when people care about what they are working on, they are willing to work longer and harder, and they learn more in the process. This principle is also embedded in our Learning Model.

We know that when people care about what they are working on, they are willing to work longer and harder, and they learn more in the process.

The process of being creative is about extending our everyday limitations and building the confidence to dream bigger and enact more change. Research shows that any form of creative expression can trigger dopamine levels in the brain, giving us makers a sense of reward, further fostering our sense of intrinsic motivation. Through any form of creative expression, we are working through the Creative Learning Spiral. This entails imagining a project and putting it into action. As the naturally curious beings that we are, we begin to interact with what we’ve made, or play, and through that process, we decide if we want to continue it, alter it, or move all altogether.

By creating art, whether with crafting materials, technology, or a combination of the two, we develop a sense of agency that better prepares us to imagine new possibilities. This ability to see beyond the immediate also sharpens one’s ability to make decisions and problem-solve.

Being creative is not just something that comes in a moment of inspiration, but a habit that can be practiced like any other healthy habit, such as exercise and healthy eating. It’s not about producing something, but rather engaging with a craft. Whether it’s photography, 3D printing, sculpting or drawing it’s important that we just get out there and play!

Being creative is not just something that comes in a moment of inspiration, but a habit that can be practiced like any other healthy habit, such as exercise and healthy eating.

NPR says, “whether it’s woodworking, sewing or sculpting teeny cupcakes out of bright purple clay, making art is good for your mind and body” and we could not agree more. The Clubhouse exists to provide the space and the tools for young people to do just this.

Listen to the complete episode of NPR’s Life Kit below.

As the Knowledge Manager, Stephanie Rosario Rodriguez is the champion of organization-wide knowledge-sharing, developing and managing implementation of institutional knowledge. In addition, she supports innovation and promotes the introduction and integration of new ideas from external thought partners into the Clubhouse community.

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