Oh, to be six again! Remember those days when paints, crayons, colored pencils, stickers, scissors, and glue provided you with hours of tranquility and fun? Life was good! Providing the ‘tools’ for a creativity is so important for children. Levi enjoyed a visit to our home recently. . .and we enjoyed observing the results of his efforts. It is always interesting to see how each child develops uniquely when it comes to creativity.
Is creativity something that can be taught? Each reader may respond to this differently, but most would generally agree that creativity comes from within and is a quality that is innately possessed at birth. Each child has potential, and if given the proper tools to develop it, wonderful, quirky, unique, and inventive works of art, song, or verse can result. Many years ago I read a book about growing creative children. I don’t remember the title or the author, but the principles were ones that became important in our homeschool. The writer suggested that the best tools for creativity were simple resources (paper, pen or pencil, keyboard, cardboard, glue, paint, crayons, glitter, feathers, sequins, crayons, etc.). It was her belief that there were always to be available to the child. She went on to say that the time and freedom to explore and create with these resources was key. This was not a subject taught in school, but rather an opportunity that took place during a child’s free time each day. When resources are available to the child, the creative activities they participate in become child-directed and meaningful to them. Exercises that involved coloring within the lines or copying existing art may assist the child in developing fine motor skills, but they do not foster creativity in a child. In the same way, a child who learns at an early age to think of their own sentence or story to write on a page, rather than assigned copywork that a teacher-parent chooses, learns not only to develop and improve their handwriting, but to become a thinker rather than a reflector of the assignments or thought of others. Why be satisfied with bringing a child up to grade level when he or she can reach for the height of imagination and artistic, musical, or written creativity?
1) warm, loving, educationally responsive parents and other adults;
2) scant association outside the family, and
3) a great deal of creative freedom under parental guidance to explore their ideas.
Dr. Raymond Moore, in his book Better Late Than Early, makes a statement that ties this subject altogether for us. As the “grandfather of homeschooling”, I believe he was a very wise man. I love this quote from him:
“Children are happiest when they are busy, and keeping them busy should not be a matter of concern. Much of a child’s busyness will be accomplished on his own. Much of it will come from the child’s questions and curiousity. The parent’s goal should be to respond to the child’s questions in a patient, consistent and constructive way. Forget about the pressures of achieving. Cultivate the idea of being happily child centered, for the child is important. Take advantage of his motivation of the moment. Be happy that he is curious, and try to go along with his curiosities whenever you can” [page 21].
Give your child the resources he or she needs. They need the tools to create — free time, materials, and affirming support. Try to cultivate a child-centered approach. And take advantage of a child’s natural curiosity. Creativity is always sure to result when the formula is implemented. Allow the child to think outside of the box and stand-by to see the exciting results!