The Need for a Highly Developed Imagination

The way you can measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 42 – 26th July 2007

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers.  And a special welcome to all the new subscribers from the recent ASME and CAYPAKS conferences in Perth. Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children.  You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list.  Thank you.  Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.

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New Book

The much anticipated second book in the Kidz-Fiz-Biz series has finally arrived!  It is called Kidz-Fiz-Biz MULTICULTURAL.  Subtitle is ‘learning about other cultures through drama, dance and song’.  All the rhymes, fingerplays and music are in foreign languages with translation into English.  It contains loads of activities and is fully illustrated.  The music is fantastic and I’m sure teachers and children alike will find it great fun. 

The book will retail for A$95.00 including GST.  As a special offer to all Kidz Newz readers for the months of June and July it will be package and post free (saving of A$9.00 in Australia, $15.00 outside Australia).  I will also throw in a free copy of my E-Book, Triumphs and Tribulations, which is about my journey into self-publishing. Email me directly to get this special offer –

For details of other products, please go to The same special offer applies.

The Need for a Highly Developed Imagination

I was alarmed when I read an article recently indicating that many of today’s children lack imagination. Lacking imagination impairs the child’s ability to use lateral thinking, to do anything creative or to engage in dramatic play. When large numbers of children lack imagination, alarm bells should ring. It is a tragedy, not only for those children, but for the future of our planet.

Without lateral thinking, problem-solving is limited which can lead to frustration and perhaps low self-esteem. An inability to write, paint or construct limits the child’s ability to enter an imaginary world where everything becomes possible. A child bound in reality cannot see a way out. And the child who cannot engage in dramatic play loses the opportunity to act out the stress and frustrations of daily life. Bottling up feelings can lead to all sorts of anti-social behaviour, such as bullying, or to health problems, such as bed-wetting or headaches.

One reason for this situation is ignoring the importance of the fantasy phase of childhood, at around four to eight years, the time when imagination is at its peak. To dismiss a very significant part of a child’s natural development is to dismiss the child and the child’s way of experiencing the world. How can a child readily distinguish between fantasy and reality and appreciate the benefits of both, when fantasy has not been allowed to fully develop?

Another major problem is that, as adults, our lives tend to be increasingly busy, and our children tend to be caught up in the hurly-burly of it all. It is easy to see idling and day-dreaming as wasting time. It isn’t. Children need to take in their world and make meaning out of it in their own good time.

The child who is allowed to express their imagination has an excellent chance of growing into an adult capable of lateral thinking, of seeing the potential in any given situation. It is creative thought that builds cities, develops vaccines, writes inspirational novels, creates amazing business empires and manufactures useful products.

Whether as a parent, teacher or other professional, use their senses to stimulate their imagination. For example, ask if they can see faces in the clouds. What else can you see and smell and hear? Encourage them to write, draw and paint every day. Read books to them, especially traditional fairy tales. In the science class, encourage discussion and ask lots of questions as this provokes thoughts and ideas to come out.  It’s these types of simple activities, engaged in regularly, that encourage a certain way of thinking.

Make sure you have a music session every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes. Ensure a part of this time is devoted to free expression ‘ interpretive movement. Use scarves or ribbon sticks to help them to act out a role, keeping in touch with the mood of the music. Talk to them about the music as it plays and find out their ideas before allowing them to move around the room. Those who lack imagination will need the prompting that comes from others. Finish the session with relaxation to music. Encourage active visualization. Music is very powerful in stimulating the imagination ‘ what story is the music telling? Is it happy, sad or scary music? (See the Kidz-Fiz-Biz materials for music and more creative ideas ‘ go to

Finally, encourage role play. Similarly in outdoor play, especially in the sandpatch, encourage creativity. If need be, set up tasks for them, giving them access to water, timber and other materials so that they need to work together to solve the problem you’ve set for them. Children with active imaginations will devise their own activities creating great cities and waterways without you having to make any suggestions. All you’ve done is put a few key elements strategically nearby and told them they are allowed to use them in the sandpatch if they wish.

The child with a well-rounded educational experience and highly developed imagination will far exceed the child who only has access to the ‘Three R’s’. The future of our planet depends on today’s children knowing how to access their creativity. Their imaginations will create the future.

Quotes of the Week

We can do more than dream, we can imagine. Aristotle.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.  Albert Einstein.

Our children will create a world we cannot imagine; they will accomplish things we cannot even dream.   Kathryn T. Shaw.

Anything one person can imagine, other people can make real.  Jules Verne


The 2006 winners of the Bulwer-Lytton contest, aka “Dark and Stormy Night Contest” (run by the English Dept. of San Jose State University), wherein one writes only the first line of a bad novel:

“Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from eeking out a living at a local pet store.”

“Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do.”

“Like an over-ripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor.”

“Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fear’; a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death — in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies.”


“The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog’s deception, screaming madly,
‘You lied!”

From ‘Pass It On’ 6/2/06 e-newsletter published by children’s author Jackie Hosking.


Dear Marlene

I teach year 1 at our lady of grace school in nth beach and I work with your beautiful friend marguerite. Marguerite regularly forwards issues of kidz fiz biz to me. I thoroughly enjoy reading your newsletter and find the entertainment very humorous and the stories very inspiring. I recently shared one of your stories (about the little girl who gave her dad a paper bag full of her treasures and her dad threw it in the bin at work) with my colleagues at Morning Prayer. I received a lot of positive feedback from fellow staff about my choice of text to reflect on and everyone had a giggle when I read aloud the entertainment.

Thank you for producing such a thought provoking newsletter

Teresa Sandral

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 64 2781 E:

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Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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