Children are naturally curious and inquisitive. They love to play and question everything they encounter, and by doing so, they begin to understand and make sense of the world around them. When children are doing this, they’re practising something called ‘creative learning’. Here’s a brief overview of what creative learning is, why it is important and what can you do can you facilitate it.
What is creative learning?
Creative learning is the process of using imagination to create something or understand a new concept. When children are learning creatively, they’re being playful, taking risks, making their own decisions and evaluating the results in their own way, at their own pace. Creative learning happens in a variety of forms such as role play, acting, performing and imagination, as well as art, music, dance and movement, mathematics, design and technology.
Why is creative learning important?
Creative learning is important because it gives children an opportunity to explore their thoughts, ideas and feelings. It’s also great fun, and is less restrictive than ‘formal’ methods of education! Creative learning is important because it gives children a safe environment in which to play, conjuring up possibilities and critically testing their decisions in a safe, imaginary way.
How can you encourage creative learning?
Teachers, parents and guardians sometimes believe that creativity is innate, and therefore cannot be ‘taught’. However, while some children might naturally be more creative than others, creativity skills can be developed by using specific methods and resources – including those available from places like Hope Education.
First, foster an environment where children feel secure enough to have a go at doing new things and taking risks. Value what they can do, don’t compare them to their peers and allow them work collaboratively if they want to. It is absolutely essential that the children feel that they can suggest ideas with expecting immediate criticism or evaluation. There must be openness to new ideas and unusual approaches!
Also, children will enjoy creative learning if you build a sense of excitement, hope and wonder. Therefore, encourage them to flex their creative muscles by building up a buzz around different forms of play. Creative learning is supposed to be fun – there are no right or wrong answers! Emphasise the importance of originality, curiosity and questioning, and try to give children plenty of time to explore and develop their ideas without too much structure.
Finally, it’s important to recognise that the opportunity to learn creatively is something open to all children, regardless of their age or ability. Creative learning is a core part of the early years foundation stage, but is also a useful medium for older children and even adults. Children with hearing and visual impairments should be given access to objects they can interact with, materials, spaces and movements, as well as the sound of instruments and other sound sources. Be mindful of children with special educational needs as they may not be able to communicate verbally: ensure they have lots of experiences and activities at their disposal that use all of their senses, such as messy play kits and sensory learning environments.
*This is a collaborative post*