I’m privileged to know really wonderful people. Some, like Sandie, are soul-sisters with whom I can share heart-to-heart and reciprocally hear where her journey has taken her in the last year. Although we only met in February, it feels like we’ve been best friends for hundreds of years.

When we visited Sandie at her shop/home Winterwood in Melbourne’s northern outskirts, it wasn’t long before she found some materials that the girls could use for their games. Out came the felt, pegs, corks, pipe-cleaners, wool and sticky-tape. While we talked, the girls fashioned props to accessorise their imaginary worlds.

Sandie Miribai with Brioni and Calista, Warranwood, November 2013
Sandie brings out her stencil cutter and shows the girls how to use it to make flowers and leaves.

Brioni playing with felt, November 2013
Brioni pulls out a flower which she'll use to decorate the cardboard box house she and Aisha have set up.

Aisha playing, November 2013
Aisha transforms a cork into a little person, part of a family that inhabits a cardboard-box home.

When Albert Einstein said “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination,” he was confirming that creativity — not the ability to retain or regurgitate facts — is what we need to cultivate in our children.

I’m thrilled to witness unfettered imagination at work in our girls’ games. I don’t ever want them to grow out of their little worlds. It’s wonderful to witness a three-year-old inhabit the same imaginary set as an eight-year-old. If — as adults — they are able to retain these sorts of skills, they will be able to inspire people of all different backgrounds, cultures, capabilities and ages to latch onto their vision — whatever that may be.

In a 2006 TED Talk, Ken Robinson posited that schools killed creativity, and that this is not what will help the adults of the future adjust to global conditions that we cannot possible predict.

In the meantime, I let the girls play — as much as they want, as long as they want. They use toys or homemade props, put on voices and develop intricate relationships. I want them to continue to expand their imaginations, so I let them play, and I’m thankful for influences like Sandie who come alongside our family and demonstrate that others value imaginative play as much as I do.