The Power of Planning

When I start to draft a paper, I usually sit down with a legal pad and a handful of ideas. It’s a bit of a frenzied process – crumpled up papers pile up on the desk, hands become stained with ink, and subpar ideas are scrapped. Planning, in short, is not the most glamorous step in the writing process. But, I can’t deny that it is an important practice inside and outside of the classroom.  

This week with ACH Clear Pathways, I witnessed the power of planning in action. Led by a staff member, a group of kids sat down to draw their ideal after-school building – no restrictions applied. They got to work with colored pencils, and creative blueprints ensued. A room full of trampolines. One dedicated strictly to Legos. Computer labs running only Fortnite. Candy trees and swimming pools.

These drawings were more than just imaginations running wild. The planning process allows us to flex our creativity and problem-solving skills. In the plans for the ideal program building, the kids used their imaginations to construct creative, unique designs. Our discussion of the designs led to working out the kinks in their plans, finding solutions to current problems. This art project shows how we can learn to apply planning to the world around us – not just to writing, but to everyday life.

The planning process also gives us a voice, especially for kids. Growing up, there was nothing better than an adult asking, “What do you think?” Planning gives us a say, the power to imagine, create, and adjust. It’s wonderful to watch the ACH Clear Pathways kids learning this at such a young age, and applying planning to art projects and other efforts.  

As for the blueprints, I’m personally rooting for the trampoline room. But for now, I’m happy seeing the kids exercise the power of planning in a creative way.

-Maggie Retton


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