Boosting creativity, the what, why and how

Why we love creativity in learning

Early Childhood Education
Home Learning

We have the capacity for infinite creativity.

Welcome to another week of learning with us, we hope the activities you’ve been doing have stimulated discussion and investigation at home. This week, amongst our usual activities, we will be sending you some specifically designed to promote creativity.

In this blog post, we want to introduce the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of creativity; what it means to be creative in an educational setting, why it is important, and how we can promote creativity in our interactions with children.

What is Creativity?

Creativity is hard to define, but we know it when we see it. In educational terms, it is how the child uses their imagination or ideas to create something new. It’s often a process, one where the child continues to develop and build on their ideas, until the final product becomes far different to the initial plan.

Creativity in learning can happen in various ways such as creating whole universes out of Lego, or using everyday items for different purposes.

Why is Creativity Important?

It might surprise some when we talk about teaching abstract concepts like creativity as part of learning, but for us it’s as important as developing numeracy or literacy skills.

This is because we feel that creativity is a natural way for children to express themselves, and should be embraced as part of children’s attempts to learn more about who they are and the world they are in. This was a feeling echoed by Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of Reggio Emilia, who said the child has 100 languages of expression. As parents and educators, we work as facilitators of a child’s learning and we can allow the child to express themselves however they choose.

Promoting creativity positively influences all areas of early childhood development including cognitive development, emotional self-regulation and crucial personality traits such as curiosity and self-confidence. This is recognised by the explicit inclusion of creativity as a learning outcome in numerous early childhood governmental standards around the world including Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, the UK (at Avendale we use the UK’s EYFS framework) and many others.

Painting Music Role play Playdough

How Can We Promote Creativity?

Promoting your child’s creativity is not difficult to do, but here are some tips to help you along:

  1. Creating opportunities for spontaneous explorations. Try not to dictate what your child should do with certain items. Instead, stand back a bit, and see where your child’s creativity will take them.
  2. Focusing on the process, not on the final outcome. Creativity is all about gradually building onto existing thoughts, and exploring how to further the investigation.
  3. Tolerating indecision. Your child doesn’t need to know what to do every time. Instead, support them as they encounter problems in their processes, and stand by if they need help.
  4. Encouraging sensible risk taking. Provide an environment safe enough to allow for failure, and support a child to safely take risks.
  5. Promoting self-evaluation and modelling creative thinking. When discussing your child’s explorations and learning, perhaps try to vary the language you use, providing more open-ended questions that do not have a right or wrong answer. For example, you can ask questions like: ‘how can we improve this’, or ‘how can we build on this activity?’ When you, yourself, are experiencing a similar situation, perhaps you can ask yourself these similar questions, and model how you would resolve these situations.

We hope the above tips will help you when interacting with your child’s learning. When you set a creative task, why not document their processes, and show us how they get on? We would love to see your photos and ideas!