Parent Connection : Encouraging Creativity

Some think that creativity is a unique quality reserved for only certain children. Others feel creativity is simply being able to draw well. Actually, creativity is a wonderful quality that we can nurture in all children. If a child is creative, he is able to express himself freely, represent his ideas in new ways, solve problems, and act in resourceful ways. Creative children are eager learners!

One simple way we can help build creativity is to provide choices, beginning at the earliest years. Encouraging children to decide for themselves from a selection of choices means a greater sense of freedom to explore a child’s own taste and capabilities. Teaching problem solving is one way to foster choice and creativity. Ask questions that are open-ended rather than spoon-fed or rhetorical. For example: A child has mistakenly broken the lid to his paint box. Instead of saying, “Do you think we should glue this?” say something like, “What do you think can be done about this?” The child may think of a number of choices and will have the opportunity to think through which is best. Then when he chooses, he takes more pride and responsibility for the solution because he made the choice.

In order for children to be creative, they need many opportunities to freely express and represent their ideas without fear of evaluation, ridicule or comparison. Provide your child with many kinds of materials to work with, even everyday household items that can be used in new and different ways. Place a high value on things your child does that might look or be different from the norm. This is called divergent thinking and is necessary for the creative process to grow. Help your child see unusual things or relationships that others see only as ordinary. Ask questions like “If this cow could talk, what would he say to you?”

Creativity can be fostered by using lots of storytelling and analogies to expand the child’s world of firsthand experiences. Because children have great imaginations, they love adventure and fantasy through books and stories, as well as firsthand experiences. Creative children enjoy being exposed to an abundance of language.

In school children should have a classroom with a wide variety of learning materials where freedom to explore and make choices is valued. Activities are child centered and hands-on, and the process of learning, not the final product, is valued. And a child is guided through his learning with open questions and encouragement to explore. Creativity does not flourish where chidren are passively waiting for teachers directions or asked to complete a craft that looks exactly like the sample made by the teacher.

…..Karin Klein, Administrator, Red Hill School, Red Hill, PA.

Parent Connection Archive

The Busy Bin
Praise and Encouragement
Your Child’s Fears
Your Child and Play
Teaching Your Child Responsibility
Make a Book With Your Child
Getting Ready For School
Learning to Laugh
Learning to Eat Healthy Food
Encouraging Creativity
Stress and Children
TV and Children