How to Facilitate a Child’s Creativity

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By Hu Wo (Cuckoo’s Song)

The word `creativity’ is still commonly popular among the youth of today. Creativity has always become an essential competence in almost every field of study rather than it is the most-liked capacity. Also, creativity is an important human characteristic, and perhaps it would be best if it is considered a process that requires mixed ingredients, personality traits, abilities and skills. Children can develop their creativity by being provided a creative environment through play, behaving creatively all by themselves, and getting praised for their creative efforts. A child’s own interests are the very starting point of originality in the creative process.
The term `creativity’ has been defined from different perspectives. In general, creativity is a human attribute which makes highly creative people special and different from others to produce appropriate and novel things, deviating from past experiences and procedures, also being concerned with divergent thinking with producing a variety of ideas, tolerating what is not known and generating imaginative interpretations of situations that may be difficult to understand. Any child will be capable of creative achievement in some area of activity, provided that the conditions are right and he has acquired the relevant knowledge and skills. Children tend to engage in unique thinking with their intrinsic desire for new and better findings.
When taking account of young children, it is suitable to accept a broad definition of creativity. In this way, every child can be thought to have creative potential and even creative expression. What might constitute originality in the work of a young child is of great importance as well. Only if so could a child prodigy be expected to come up with something new and valuable to society. On the other hand, each child’s creative abilities may relate to his personal development. Hence, another suggestion for adopting the notion of creativity to suit young children is to put the emphasis on the creative process instead of the quality of creative products. Malaguzzi also said that creativity becomes more visible when adults try to pay more attention to the cognitive processes of children than to the results they achieve in various fields of doing and understanding.
Never should creativity be underestimated. Creativity helps teach cognitive skills and scientific thinking. Creative thinking outside of the box covers imagination, the basic use of a scientific method, communication, physical dexterity and exertion, problem posing, problem-solving, making interpretations and applying symbols, which contribute to future literacy skills, too. Creative expression provides many opportunities for describing emotions and working through those emotions to gain relief and understanding of them. In young childhood, creativity is often a social act of improving a sound knowledge of social rules like give and take or cooperation. Working with art materials promotes fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Furthermore, children will be able to learn new vocabulary and usages as well as to associate pictures with words by engaging in creative play or projects, which should boost language expressions and comprehension. Finally, creative activities enable children to study grouping and classification, as well as physical properties, objects, and effects.
So, which components are involved in the process of creative thinking? Most theorists find a number of components in the creative process, particularly imagination, originality, i.e. the ability to turn out ideas and products that are new and unusual, productivity, i.e. the ability to generate a variety of different ideas through divergent thinking, problem-solving, i.e. the application of knowledge and imagination to a given situation, and finally, the ability to produce an outcome of value and worth. According to Alvino, creative thinking is characterized by four components: fluency or generating many ideas, flexibility or shifting perspective easily, originality or conceiving something new, and elaboration or building on other ideas. Upgrade fluency provides children with plenty of opportunities that stimulate the thought process. Fostering flexibility allows opportunities in abundance to explore and experiment. Such an allowance for experiments and mistakes unleashes their creative thinking and a sense of wonder. If children are provided with a variety of supplies and experiences to promote originality, they ought to use their imagination and creation. To be said better, elaboration means the ability to extend ideas, giving children new ways of conducting old ideas and activities.
We cannot guarantee that children think creatively even though they have creative ability, especially if they fear new thinking or do not want to be creative. According to Lee, the characteristics in relation to creative behaviours include curiosity, running the risk, independence, and task commitment. According to Paradice et al., the four behaviours preparing the mind for creativity are learning something new every day, seeking out constructive criticism, incubating or leaving a problem alone for a while to allow the brain to work on it, and putting knowledge to work. As Lara and Cruz said, highly creative individuals display such exploratory behaviour when encountering novelty as getting optimistic, being tolerant of uncertainty, pursuing their intensity, assuming responsibility, directing to their goals, having to be able to utilize resources, self-acceptance and congruence, and showing empathy and integrated consciousness. Burnard also stated five behaviours towards creative learning, namely the capacities to ask questions, make connections, imagine what might be, explore opinions and reflect critically.
Fundamental to the creative environment is the encouragement of children’s play, Mellou believed. Play is deeply featured in many of the discussions about creativity in young children. Imaginative play, especially role play, and free choice of activities seem to be the key components of the early childhood setting in connection with creativity. As Prentice suggested, active involvement is a key feature. Louisell and Descamps once emphasized four features of the environment that contribute to creative experiences: the amount of weight which is placed on openness with feelings, the way success and failure are regarded, the quantity of enjoyment experienced by participants, and how well tolerant open-ended experimentation and discovery learning along with the increased confusion and talks are accompanied. Again, two aspects of the environment should be taken into consideration – the physical environment and the emotional environment. Among these, the stimulation offered by a child’s physical environment is important, and the more important atmosphere is an emotional environment where creativity is valued.
Most writers on creativity advocate that it is possible to encourage or even to inhibit the development of creativity in young children.  Children are apparently more creative before they enter KG. But then, this leads to the question of whether there is a natural consequence of children maturing and becoming constrained by social conventions or their experiences in the KG somehow cause the decline. Creativity is closely bound up with an individual’s personality and emotional life, and it is more than just thinking skills. Some children may find it difficult to express their creativity, so their behaviour can be observed by identifying where the difficulty lies and devising an action plan. As there are three types of thinking_creative, critical and logical, any advance in literature and science would not have been seen if only creative thinking had not arisen through the ages of human history. Let us facilitate children’s creativity in many potentially colourful ways, therefore!

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