- Blog By
Sumita Sen Mazumdar
Principal – Erode KG Campus
The Indian Public School – Erode.
September,04 2023 | In Blog
Imagination is but another name for super intelligence – Edgar Rice Burroughs (Writer and creator of the iconic character Tarzan)
Creativity is a human trait that allows for bringing into existence something new or different, thinking imaginatively or finding a new way to do an existing task. Finding success in life depends a good deal on cultivating the trait of creativity. Thinking innovatively or out of the box can separate us from the usual, and be distinct in what we have to offer to the world. This gives us a natural edge or advantage.
Most young children are naturally creative because of their innate curiosity to understand and explore the world around them. This inner need is what drives them to use imagination and problem-solving techniques in the quest to understand what something they see or touch is, how it works or what it does. Our duty as early years facilitators, caregivers or parents is to encourage this natural instinct in a way that can maximize the benefit to the child while also developing safety consciousness or ground rules.
HOW CAN WE ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY IN PRESCHOOLERS?
Free play indoors and outdoors
Free play, especially outdoors, has many benefits for children. Fresh air, sunlight and vitamin D, social skills, creative thinking and problem-solving on the go are some of the naturally derived advantages. Not being subjected to over-supervision or hovering means the child will be more likely to explore, think, connect and apply naturally. The element of risky play that the outdoor tends to provide fosters self-confidence, physical literacy, adaptability and self-regulation in children. Indoor free play environments are especially created in kindergarten, targeting specific milestones or developmental areas.
Listening to stories or narrating stories actively fosters language development, imagination, creative thinking and cognitive skills. If we create ample opportunities for children to listen to stories as well as narrate them using descriptive language, we are positively influencing the development of creativity.
Material play and imaginative play
Materials like open-ended wooden block sets, puzzles, messy art, sound instruments, etc., will provide a variety of sensory stimulation and encourage creative exploration. Imaginative play, role-playing with or without props will encourage the child to think creatively while building vocabulary.
Encourage trying new activities and exploring new places
New experiences encourage the flow of creativity. Try different kinds of new activities with children, from time to time. Visit age-appropriate venues for new kinds of exposure or connection between classroom learning and the real world. Field trips from the school encourage exploring new places, enhance critical thinking skills, and develop new learning perspectives for a particular topic.
Supporting the child with positive reinforcement
If a child shows interest in a certain learning activity, encourage them to pursue it and support with age-appropriate learning resources that provide incremental challenges. When we voice our support of the child’s activity choices, they feel safe to explore more, thereby leading them onto the path of creativity and discovery. In the absence of such positive reassurance, the child may hesitate to venture outside the comfort zone.
Embrace mistakes, not fear making them
Children need to feel safe and secure before we can expect them to explore the natural or prepared environment. So, in the early years, if we want to encourage creativity or imagination, we must embrace trying and making mistakes over avoiding failure. Adults must control the urge to interfere and try to fix things, where there is no imminent danger to the child’s wellbeing. Trial and error should be normalized as much as possible rather than perfection. This will ensure that children are motivated to practise creativity, and learn appropriately.
Arts and Crafts
In the early years, to stimulate creativity, focusing on the addition of unique, interesting raw materials and the creative process is more important than the final outcome of the art and craft project. Thus, the act of creating should be given more importance than achieving flawlessness of the final product, be it a painting or craft.
Classroom and Home reflections
Going back to a learning activity or reflecting on it, by talking, writing or drawing about it encourages students to creatively absorb more information on the subject, and enhances their contextual understanding too. Encourage the child to express learning reflections on different areas either in the classroom or at home.
Setting up the classroom to nurture creativity
A flexible classroom layout with different kinds of hands-on learning tools, activity corners, large structures that can be moved around or even smaller elements that can be re-arranged in multiple ways to create variations according to different themes, will encourage creative thinking in the classroom. A reading corner with interesting picture and reading books will certainly aid in developing creative vocabulary.
There are many, many ways to nurture creativity in an early years child. Creativity is pure self expression. When we facilitate children to express themselves creatively, with minimum interference, appreciate their work, they will feel a sense of joy, satisfaction and achievement that will naturally stimulate them towards more complex levels of creativity.
Creativity can certainly be cultivated in the kindergarten child through positivity, patience and perseverance, and most importantly, consistently providing a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for them.