Welcome to our weekly online series on parenting advice with local expert Dr. Deborah Wood.

Creativity versus Facts

Dear Dr. Debbie,

My children are 22 months and 4 months.  Way too young for school, but looking ahead, I’m wondering about various educational approaches.  I hear from other parents, and I remember from my school days, that some schools and teachers lean more toward developing creative problem solving skills and others are more about memorization of information.

Which is more important for my children’s futures?

Army Dad


Dear Army Dad,

One of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, Albert Einstein believed creative thinking to be more important, although it is doubtful his elementary teachers in the 1890’s would have concurred.    

I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

In Einstein’s childhood, there were eight planets in our solar system – or rather, that is what school children were taught to memorize.    Then in 1930, an amateur astronomer discovered and named Pluto.  Then Charon, described as a moon orbiting Pluto, was added to our knowledge in 1978.   Now, with even finer telescopic instruments, Charon was seen to be more than half the size of Pluto – too large to be called a moon.  So now we’re back to eight planets, and Pluto is known as a dwarf planet and Charon is officially a satellite.  Both Charon and Pluto are probably made entirely of ice.  But do we know for sure?   The problem with memorization of facts is that “facts” can change as discoveries are made.

My vote is to lean toward creative thinking, since we do not yet know the problems future generations will have to solve.

Dr. Debbie