Early Childhood is a time for wonder, imagination and possibility. Young children love nothing more than to be given the freedom and permission to create and construct with materials that inspire and spark imagination.
As educators, our role is to provide opportunities for our youngest learners to find their own way of expressing themselves. We want children to experience a sense of wonder and delight in making their own discoveries. So often, we make assumptions about what children already know, what they can and can’t do. We limit their potential and their capacity to grow and learn, when we make these assumptions.
Creativity is in all of our children and in all that they do and all that they say. There is no right or wrong way for a child to be creative. Opportunities that celebrate a child’s individuality and uniqueness, are an integral part of developing creativity and imagination. Focusing less on the end product, and more on the process, builds self-esteem, and deepens a child’s understanding of themselves and their learning.
Creativity can be fostered through the arts and drama, through literacy and numeracy and science. The way in which educators can nurture a child’s creativity is by offering children time, space and open-ended resources that can be used in a range of ways, for a range of purposes. Inviting children to explore techniques that they may not have used before, is another way of inviting new understanding and new ways of thinking.
Painting, drawing, sculpting, modelling and constructing, are just some of the ways to enrich a child’s creativity. Music, dancing and rhyme offers artistic expression for those children who enjoy the delights of rhythm and sound. Clay is another wonderful way to foster creativity, imagination and problem solving in young children. It offers the opportunity to build fine motor skills, sensory development, language development and general wellbeing.
“The image of the child as a competent learner from birth drives professionals to provide a safe and stimulating environment, and encourage children to expand their capacities and deepen their knowledge and understandings of the world” (VEYLDF, 2016)
Nature provides our biggest opportunity to be creative as we explore with our senses each and every day. Providing children with the freedom to be creative, to experiment with colour, shape, pattern or design, and time in the natural world, jumping, climbing, digging, sifting and sorting, all contribute to them becoming confident, self-assured, creative, life-long learners.
Seeing children as capable and competent first and foremost, provides a platform for growth and development far beyond what we can often imagine them learning.
By Anna Tibb, Kindergarten Director, Preshil