16 Jul Once a little boy went to school
Once a little boy went to school, it was quite a big school, but when the boy found he could go right to his room from the playground outside he was happy, and the school didn’t seem quite so big anymore. One morning when the little boy had been in school for a while, the teacher said, “Today, we are going to make a picture.” “Good,” thought the little boy. He liked to make pictures. He could make lions and tigers and trains and boats. He took out his crayons and began to draw. But the teacher said, “Wait, it’s not time to begin.” And she waited until everyone looked ready. “Now”, said the teacher, “we are going to make flowers. “”Good,” thought the little boy, and he began to make beautiful flowers with his orange and pink and blue crayons. But the teacher said, “Wait.” She drew a picture on the blackboard. It was red with a green stem. “There, now you may begin.” The little boy looked at the teacher’s flower. He liked his better, but he did not say this. He just turned his paper over and made a flower like the teacher’s. It was red with a green stem.
On another day the teacher said, “Today we are going to make something with clay.” “Good” thought the little boy. He could make all kinds of things with clay – snakes and snowmen and elephants and mice – and he began to pinch and pull his ball of clay. But again the teacher said, “Wait, I will show you how.” And she showed everyone how to make one deep dish. The little boy just rolled his clay in a round ball and made a dish like the teacher’s.
And pretty soon the little boy learned to wait and make things just like the teacher’s. And pretty soon he didn’t make things of his own anymore.
And then it happened that the little boy and his family moved to another city and the boy had to go to another school. On the first day he went to the school the teacher said, “Today we are going to make a picture. “Good”, thought the little boy and he waited for the teacher to tell him what to do. But the teacher didn’t say anything. She just walked around the room. When she came to the boy she said, “Don’t you want to make a picture?” “Yes, “said the boy. “What are we going to make?” “Well, I don’t know until you make it, “said the teacher. “How should I make it?” said the boy. “Why, anyway you like!” “And any colour?” “Any colour” said the teacher. “If everyone made the same thing in the same colour, how would I know what and which was which?” “I don’t know”, said the boy, and he began to draw a flower.
It was red with a green stem.
This is an inspiring story by Helen E. Buckley, reminding educators and teachers working with children, how important it is to promote a child’s creativity. Creativity is mind set free. Creativity isn’t just in the doing. It is an attitude and approach that says, “We will learn from every experience.” As an educator we need to provide children a safe and secure place, where it is okay to take risks and make mistakes.
When educators support children’s creativity, they promote children’s learning in relation to all five learning outcomes listed in Early Years Learning Framework. Here are some ideas to what you can do to promote children’s creativity:
- Provide resources that allow children to be creative- Open-ended resources and materials including natural elements are a great way to support children in being creative. Children need a lot of time for unstructured, child-directed, imaginative play –unencumbered by adult direction, and that doesn’t depend on a lot of commercial stuff. Let them go out and make connections with nature. Space is also a resource that children need. Let them make mess by setting up messy play area.
- Allow children the freedom and autonomy to explore their ideas and do what they want in a fearless environment.
- Give children the opportunity to express “divergent thought.” Let them disagree with you. Encourage them to find more than one way to a solution, and more than one solution to a problem. When they successfully solve a problem, ask them to solve it again but to find a new way to do it (same solution, different method). Then ask them to come up with more solutions to the same problem. You may pose problems to be solved collaboratively
- Introduce children to new skills and techniques – art, dance, music, and drama.
- Give babies and toddlers sensory experiences and opportunities to explore and experiment with materials.
- Assist children to find explanations for their observations/discoveries.
- Allows children to experiment in using and combining materials in different ways – promotes problem solving
- Adopt a creative approach to routines—for example, collaborating with children to turn lunchtime into a restaurant re-creation.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Emphasize process rather than product. One way you can do this is by asking questions about the process – Did you have fun? Are you finished? What did you like about that activity?
Last but not the least, acknowledge children’s creativity and appreciation them. Acknowledgement and appreciation will enhance their self-esteem and more windows of creativity will open.