Being creative is nothing new, but it’s a hot topic in the world of education at the moment for many reasons.
Mainly because, for a while, the benefits of allowing children to be creative was lost, taken over by box-ticking assessments and over-structured activities, which stripped away the possibility for teachers to BE creative in their planning and to value creativity in what their pupils produced.
We’re a long way off where we need to be, but professionally, I feel a change in the tide; creativity is back.
Pupil-led creativity is the best way to gauge a child’s ability to create. Too often, as educators and parents, we are led to believe that activities for our children need to be structured to death. They don’t. There is nothing more inspiring than giving children some equipment and seeing what they make of it.
And it doesn’t have to be arts and crafts supplies. Being creative is not just about being arty. It’s about making the most out of what you’ve got.
When I think back to my own childhood, being creative was pretty much all there was to do on a Sunday. Unless you liked ‘Songs of Praise’ at age 8, there was literally NOTHING to do but to create your own fun.
To me, creativity starts with a notion that you need to make something better. You’re bored, so you make up a game. Your old dresser is worn and battered but you can’t afford a new one, so you find some paint and make it better. You’re on the beach and you’ve forgotten your bucket and spade, so you improvise.
These skills are all so valuable for our children and are the building blocks for many other life-skills to thrive; to be creative is to be resilient. (Link to a post I wrote on resilience last year here)
For our children, knowing that experimenting is good is extremely important. In a world of perfectionism, they need reassurance that it’s okay to fail, that your first attempt doesn’t have to be your last, that you can improve with practice and to be able to do this builds resilience.
Our children must understand that it’s okay to have to try again and that failures are just problems along the way to overcome, that the necessity to keep re-creating is part of a process.
I was so happy when ABeeC (say it ABC) Toys got in touch to see if we’d like to try out some of their products. Encouraging creativity is something close to my heart and I jumped at the chance to see what Hugo would make of all the goodies they sent us. I already knew Ruby would love them; she’s had good practice at being creative and she loves building on an initial idea and seeing where her mind wanders.
Why not give it a try? Take those Lego cards away and ask your children to build something from scratch. Encourage re-vision and re-creation; I’d love to hear how you got on too.
As always, all opinions are entirely my own.