Tuning into Creativity in Early Years – It's Essential

Creativity in Early Years is fundamental to your child's growth. Here WhichSchoolAdvisor.com's Jenny Mollon looks at how you can help allow it to flourish.
Tuning into Creativity in Early Years – It's Essential
By David Westley
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For many of us, early creativity is being presented with a wildly elaborate, multi coloured, glitter embellished piece of “art” and watching our child’s hysteria as we don’t immediately interpret it as a pink-elephant-wearing-shoes-and-a-hat.  Or a crocodile. Or a giraffe – you get the idea!  But creativity in the early years is so much more than that and vital not only to our children’s learning but also to their emotional well-being and self-esteem.  Here we look at what creativity really is and how nurseries and parents can support children to be creative thinkers from an early age.


What is Creativity?

Creativity is simply the process of forming new and original ideas.  In children, creativity is best expressed when they are allowed to explore and discover in their own time and whilst pursuing their own interests.  It is important that adults do not pigeon-hole creativity into being just “art” or “dance” or “drama” – creativity is present in all aspects of life. 

Scientific research would stall without creative thought! 

Think your child doesn’t learn about science at nursery?  Watch a child play with water, sand or soil and see how they explore textures and begin to understand concepts such as liquids and solids, space, capacity, weights and measures.  Creativity underpins so much of our children’s learning from the very earliest age.


The Relationship between Creativity, Emotional Well-being and Self-Esteem

Creativity allows us all a vent for our emotions and space in which to express ourselves.  This is especially important for young children who may as yet be non-verbal or less than confident communicators.  Creative play such as dress up and role play allows children to work through, interpret and make sense of the adult world and adult interactions. 

Seeing their art work and creations displayed on notice boards in nursery and on the fridge at home teaches children that they are able to produce praiseworthy items of note and value.  And whilst we are on that point: parents beware of all too perfect art work arriving home from nursery… better to display wonky and wild art work of your child’s own creation than work perfected by an over-zealous nursery worker!


Creativity and Music

Music is a powerful element of creativity.  Children love to make loud noises (often to their parent’s dismay!) and will explore rhythms and sounds using whatever implements they can find.  Slowly, as infants become toddlers, these bangs and crashes will become more sophisticated, imaginative and recognisable.    

Many research studies have found that musical ability correlates to mathematical and scientific achievement later in life.  However, music is much more than something to simply support other aspects of learning, music has the power to both calm and enliven children with even the very youngest infants responding to and interacting with rhythmical sounds. 

Reciting and learning songs has long been shown to be a great learning aid for both communication and cognitive skills.  Lastly, music is creativity that can be shared, responded to, imagined and improvised – all essential lifelong learning skills for young children.


Creativity in Nurseries – what good nurseries do well

The best nurseries have creativity embedded into everything they do. 

More so, a truly child-centred nursery will follow the ideas and creative thoughts of the children themselves.  Nursery teachers should plan activities which not only capture the imagination of children but which allow children to form and run with their own ideas. 

A confident teacher will provide children with materials to create with and take a step back – even if the end results are far from what they had first envisaged!  Flexibility is key here – allowing children to form a can do attitude by trying and experimenting with new things and being unafraid of “failure”!  Perfection may be unattainable but perseverance and bright ideas can take a child a long way.

Lastly, creativity is a perfect opportunity for teachers to link together varying aspect of the curriculum.  Maths can be music, art can be literacy and role play, communication!  Cutting, sticking, painting and drawing enhance fine motor skills, whilst performance and dance develop gross motor skills.  These link underpin and reinforce all aspects of learning and development. 


What Parents can do at Home

At WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, we always advise parents to form strong bonds with their child’s nursery teacher and to pay attention to updates and reports from the nursery.  Doing so will enable you to repeat and reinforce creative ideas from nursery in your own home. 

Build your child’s self-esteem by displaying their beautiful (and bonkers!) creations at home and by praising self-expression and great ideas. 

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