Part 1. - Creativity. Why?
Creativity is traditionally associated with brilliant people doing brilliant things often in the field of the arts. However, the definition has continued to develop and today educationalists define creativity as being a response to a problem that through experiences, ideas, experiments and failures reach a new, different and worthwhile understanding. Even in the case of Archimedes his Eureka bath moment was the culmination of years of puzzling and experimentation, it was the sum of his experiences not a spontaneous isolated event.
We are surrounded by systems and inventions that are creative responses to real life problems; house design, investment options, transport networks and new recipes have all been thought about, explored and created by looking at these puzzles from many different angles. It is in inquiring into problems from many different perspectives and finding new ways to answer questions in that we are being creative.
Research shows that creativity is a combination of intelligence and imagination.
Some psychologists believe that by the age of 7 children have developed a bank of creativity; it is through the exploring, questioning and natural inquisitiveness and imagination that this develops. Some think that children are naturally more creative whilst still others relate their creativity to an innocence and lack of understanding that enables them to look at the world without adult constraints. (Piaget, Brunner etal.)
I would agree with these definitions. To observe young children at play is to watch them freely make sense of the world without the inhibitions which encroach upon us as we grow up. The activities you see in a typical kindergarten class are providing opportunities to understand the world through being creative with a range of materials. Schools however are a small part of this process and parents can play a huge part in providing an even more stimulating set of experiences for their children. We often laugh at the way children spend more time playing with the box their gifts came in than a gift its self but this is children being creative, often times bought toys do not allows for personal creativity. Creativity is limited by the gift itself. Building, dressing up, painting, outdoors play, playing with others all helps children to expand their experiences, knowledge and skills thereby explore and develop their creativity.
I am not saying that a child’s life should be a free for all, but it should a careful balance between learning of skills and knowledge and time for children to experiment following their own imaginations. There should be a wide range of experiences and options available to children if we want them to be rounded interesting and creative people. More next week..........