Our Mission

Creative Lives affirms that each child is innately good, with a unique potential for learning, contribution and fulfillment. It is our mission and vision to help young people thrive, develop their character and reach this potential as adults -- by attending to the development of their minds, the health of their bodies and environment, and nurturing their inner lives and creativity.

Addressing Urgent Needs

Young people have tremendous individual and collective potential to build creative, purposeful, and fulfilling lives. Yet too many children are children are developing unevenly, ill-prepared to navigate the challenges that await them as adults. The settings in which children spend most of their time--families, childcare, and school--vary widely in how they support children’s development and potential.

While some environments cultivate children’s self-esteem, knowledge, creativity, health, and a sense of purpose as they grow, increasing numbers of children struggle with critical aspects of their identity, relationships, and wellbeing. Some thrive academically but lack confidence in their innate value. Some some lack good nutrition or spend hours each day in front of screens. Some are physically strong, but struggle with focus and attention in school. Others experience trauma or depression through lack of appropriate care, connections, or resources.

In the face of much social strife and violence, unprecedented opportunities for recreational screen time, serious environmental challenges, and ensuing concerns about educational priorities, dedicated adults are at work on addressing aspects of children’s learning and wellbeing. However, it is challenging to achieve consensus between parents, teachers, and community members on effective, systemic solutions given the diversity of local and individual circumstances.

Caregivers, educators, and others who focus on children’s wellbeing have inconsistent levels of skill and/or resources to effectively address student needs and developments in learning communities and homes.

Creative Solutions

Tadd's Framework for Wise Education effectively addresses the root causes of imbalances in childhood development and corresponding imbalances in our culture and our schools. Tadd’s understandings of human development constitute a powerful, whole-systems orientation that supports the learning and wellbeing of educators, caregivers, and the young people they serve -- across all aspects of their lives. Learn More

We have vigorously field-tested this approach. In the process, we have alighted on criteria we believe essential to long-term, positive change for children. A viable, holistic approach must:

Address the root causes of challenges for children and the adults who serve them, within the context of interconnection between humans and their environment.

Support the unique potential of individuals, groups, and educational consortiums.

Apply universally to all members of a learning community. This is critical (and uncommon practice). For example, we could agree that an inspired child will be better able to learn, but what inspires each child may be quite unique. When we work to apply what works for some children to all children, chaos ensues.

Be holistic in scope: the need for intellectual development exists in tandem with the needs for inner wellbeing, insight, health, and positive relationships (with others and with the natural world). Each of these areas are critical to reaching individual and group potential.

Allow for Innovation: A successful approach must allow innovation and the emergence of new, creative applications of universal principles.

Be integrative and efficient, offering a means to:

  • Integrate, validate, or build on existing, effective practices from the field

  • Identify strategies, tools or philosophy that should evolve or be disbanded

  • Add, with precision, what is missing in our approach

  • Fine-tune our desired outcomes for children

  • Continually evaluate the effectiveness of our teaching, parenting and programming

  • Create shared vision, collective action, and positive, systemic change

  • Support efficient, sustainable use of time, energy, and resources.

A Framework for Wise Education delivers on every point in the above outline.

What’s Next

We are now prepared to scale up our efforts and broaden our impact to share Tadd’s Framework with adults, schools, parenting communities, and agencies who work on behalf of childhood and family wellbeing. Our expanded training opportunities can be offered affordably, both online and in-person, with ongoing supports for implementation and progressive opportunities to deepen practice in the field.

  • Established a community garden and outdoor classroom.

  • Enlisted the help of dozens of volunteers and community partners.

  • Trained over 40 staff members and interns.


Noteworthy:

  • 88% of regular attendees in our afterschool programs are able to use Framework-based tools and strategies to improve their focus skills (defined as: understanding what focus means, appreciating the benefits of focus, able to accept adult assistance to gain better focus, electing to work work with focus strategies on their own, for example). With the diagnosis of “ ADD/ADHD” so prevalent in young children, this is significant.

  • Creative Lives partners with the Hartford Recreation Department to support Summer "Ventures" Camp, serving 80 students per week for eight weeks of programming.

  • CLASP has been recognized in the Vermont Step Ahead Recognition System for excellence in childcare.

My child has simply blossomed since attending CLASP!”
— M. Bissette, CLASP parent

Character Education         
We have taught more than 350 children Framework-based character education, including contemplative practices and life skills in our classes and residencies at local schools and conferences and in our afterschool lab. We are working on a k-8th grade approach to character development that incorporates meditation, theater, and other reflective arts.

Every child in our school should be learning these skills!
— W. Thompson, 3rd grade educator, Norwich, VT

Workshops and Courses for Educators
Creative Lives has offered programs in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New England introducing A Framework for Wise Education to more than 325 teachers, and community leaders. 

This is a new way of thinking about how everyone learns that really makes sense.
— A. Super, CLASP staff member

Adventures in Teaching and Parenting
In 2016 we introduced "Adventures in Parenting: Addressing Root Causes of ADD/ADHD with our partner, The Family Place, in Norwich, Vermont.

I now meditate every morning using (a Framework) technique and have found it to be immensely helpful in setting me up for my day...My son now utilizes tools/techniques for getting focused before reading (where he has struggled in the past) which allows him the ability to get into a “zone” where he is less distracted and able to stay focused for longer periods of time. In addition, I have found him to be more disciplined in some of his daily habits (as have I), requiring less requests/nagging from me to get things done...the possible avenues this work could take are truly endless.
— C. Nolan, parenting course partitipcant