Teacher Diaries: Ms. Nordstrom – Creativity

Encouraging Creativity in Your Children

Creativity is not so much an inborn quality as it is a learned skill – it is not true that some children are more or less creative than others or more or less capable in creative fields than others, it is very much something that can and should be taught and encouraged. This is because creativity is actually essential in developing important cognitive skills necessary for everything from artistic expression and physical dexterity to problem solving, making interpretations and mathematical and scientific thinking.

Often we draw a distinct line between scientific and creative pursuits where many people place more weight on the scientific. This tends to go hand in hand with a methodological, systematic approach as the correct way to learn and more worthwhile to create discipline in a child’s life and build a strong work ethic. However neglecting and failing to nurture a child’s creativity and rejecting a creative approach to learning can result in underdevelopment of skills such as emotional intelligence, communication and independent thinking.

Creativity is not only about expression and emotional intelligence, it is also crucial to proper development of social skills, being able to think of new ideas, being flexible when faced with new situations and problems as well as being able to experiment and come up with several approaches to solve conflicts and analyze complex situations.

So what can you do to make sure that you are encouraging your child’s creativity? Here are some things to consider.

  1. Creative Environment: Make your home a place where your child can explore their interests, be this through having a wise assortment of books, a collection of scientific models, maps of the world, planets, a white-board or blackboard for them to draw and write on, or just having paper and paints, pencils or even something as simple as play doh available.
  2. Modeling: A large part of how children learn is through modeling, take time to be creative with your children, take a pottery class or go on an exploration noting down and drawing different types of flowers, leaves and animals in a park.
  3. Let go of scheduling: It can be stressful to plan all of a child’s activities including those to encourage their creative pursuits into an already busy academic schedule. But a lot of the benefits of creativity are lost if a child is not allowed to think freely in an unstructured environment – stifling their independent or divergent thought can result in them being stunted or not knowing what to do when faced with new situations, problems or even when they are left alone to take a test and answer questions without the guidance or direction of a parent.

It can be hard to let go of wanting to structure your child’s development and their time, and not to focus on more scientific learning approaches but giving children the freedom and space to develop their creativity. But whenever you find yourself doubting whether you are doing the right thing in allowing your child to be creative, remember Albert Einsten’s famous words “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

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