Process Over Product
How Creative Youth Development Can Lead to Peace
By Adam Jacobs
“The person who fell off the person who fell off.” This was the response of four-year-old Aaron to the question, “What do you want to do a play about?” in the Kids Creative Summer Camp. Aaron meant to say “the person who fell off” only once. In most settings, such an accidental double phrasing would be corrected and forgotten. However, in Kids Creative, the rule is “All ideas are good.” Other campers built on Aaron’s slip-up to create a play called “The Journey to Find The Person Who Fell Off The Person Who Fell Off.” This group of 20 children, ages 4 to 12, who came from various New York City schools, engaged in a brainstorming session in which they shared ideas and asked questions. Everyone in the group, including the teaching artists, added their own ideas using the phrase, “Yes, and….” A storyline took shape: The vice president of Chocolateville was standing on the shoulders of the president of Chocolateville at their inauguration when they both slipped into the Chocolate River. Now a group of heroes has to make a treacherous journey to find them. Each child created his or her character, and the group found ways to weave the story together. Thanks to the Kids Creative processoriented environment, one idea from a four-year-old child developed into a five-part musical play, which was performed for friends and family at the close of the camp session.