Educating the Creative Mind: Developing Capacities for the Future

An International Conference on Arts-Based Education for Children

March 4-6, 2010
Kean University, Union, NJ, USA

We are living in a time of socio-economic and technological change that calls for new ways to approach learning and cultivate thinking. Traditional teaching approaches based on memorization, recitation, and the concept of a single solution or correct answer do not accommodate our current, more global understandings about the human mind and the nature of intelligence. To foster an enriched and successful lifelong engagement within a world of rapidly evolving ideas, young people must cultivate habits of mind which are adaptive, reflexive, and creative. An arts-based education prepares young people to meet these growing demands through the nurturance of original thought processes, critical thinking and innovative ways to address relevant problems. Moreover, a curriculum that integrates the arts can motivate learning in all disciplines and enhance standards-based education.

Educating the Creative Mind Conference is the inauguration of a new educational project that aims to heighten public awareness of the significance of the arts in children’s learning and development. Throughout this three-day conference, we seek to generate conversations about ways to strengthen arts-based education for young children by inviting educators to share theories, research and best practices with each other and with the community of stakeholders – policy makers, teachers, parents, social workers – all those who influence children’s lives. We hope to establish a network of all these individuals who will join force in finding innovative ways to bring a well-rounded education to children.

Please scroll down this page to see the HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR CONFERENCE PROGRAM. Click here to look at our CONFERENCE BROCHURE. You will see what an exciting event it is going to be!

Lily Chen-Hafteck
Photo by Laura Masterson

Hope you can join and support us at this valuable conference!



Dr. Lily Chen-Hafteck,
Director of the Educating the Creative Mind Project






Early Childhood and Elementary Classrooms Teachers
Art, Dance, Music and Theatre Specialist Teachers
College and University Professors involved in Teacher Preparation
Elementary Principals, Preschool Directors, and other School Administrators
Arts-based institutions offering educational programs
School Board Members and Trustees, Government Officials, and Other Policy Makers
Anyone interested in children and education!







The Nurturance of Artistic Creativity: Lessons from the study of creative exemplars

Dr. Howard Gardner

Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Building on his research on multiple intelligences, artistic development, and the accomplishments of creative adults, Gardner will discuss how best to nurture creative thinking and creative works in young persons. The presentation will survey cognitive factors, personality characteristics, and cultural contexts that enhance or inhibit the flowering of creativity.


Toddler at keyboard
Photo by Lily Chen-Hafteck



This conference will bring together scholars from 13 different states in the United States and 11 other countries including Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America whose presentations will help us understand arts-based education from an international perspective, which is much needed in this increasingly globalizing environment. A wide-ranging selection of presentations will include paper sessions, symposia, hands-on workshops, posters and roundtable discussions, that will be delivered with an array of topics.


image children dancingimage with dollchildren with costumes

Photos by Laura Masterson


PANEL DISCUSSION: Nurturing The Creative Mind

Dr. Janet Barrett, Associate Professor at Northwestern University, will facilitate a panel discussion. Dr. Howard Gardner together with officials from the Department of Education and school administrators will discuss the current situation and the implementation of a well-rounded education in early childhood classrooms. Among the special guests are Lucille E. Davy, former Commissioner of Education and Dale Schmid, the Visual & Performing Arts and 21st Century Life & Careers Coordinator at the New Jersey State Department of Education in New Jersey.





On Thursday evening of March 4, 2010, a celebration of Children’s Creative Mind will feature children’s creative works in dance, music, theatre and visual arts. Interviews with young artists that follow each performance will help us learn more about children’s creative processes.


Children's Band
Photo by Laura Masterson



On Saturday morning of March 6, 2010, Drs. Lori Custodero, Olga Hubard, and Suzi Tortora, the three leading experts in early childhood arts education from Teachers College, Columbia University, will present creative arts workshops for young children (from 12 months to 6 years of age) and their parents. Following the observations of children’s creative arts at work in an educational setting, conference participants will engage in an in-depth reflections and discussion led by Dr. Liora Bresler, Professor at the University of Illinois at Champaign. This event will be the concluding highlight of the conference.

Children and parents of the community are invited to register and participate in this creativity-filled and educational event. There will be a registration fee of $10 for each child with a parent. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Spaces are limited, so please register early!

infant image
Photo by Lily Chen-Hafteck



The Concert Artists of Kean University are an ensemble of internationally recognized chamber musicians who perform an annual recital series at Kean. To honor the participants of the Educating the Creative Mind Conference, complimentary tickets to Thursday’s performance in Enlow Recital Hall are being offered to conference participants of full registration who request them on a first-come, first-served basis.


Thursday, March 4, 2010, 8:00 PM
Happy Birthday Robert
A Concert in Honor of Schumann’s 200th Anniversary

Violin Sonata, Fantasy Pieces, and Lieder by this 19th century master

Gabriela Martinez, piano, Brennan Sweet, violin; Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet; Katherine Harris, soprano




For New Jersey educators, attendance of the full conference will earn 21 professional development hours. Day attendance of Thursday will earn 7 hours and Friday will earn 8.5 hours.




This conference is supported by a “Quality First Initiatives” grant from Kean University.
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