1.1 – Analyse the differences between creative learning and creativity.
Creative learning is about how children are actively involved in their own learning, and their ability to make choices and decisions. This can be achieved through providing a creative environment, allowing exploration through play and praising creative efforts.
Creativity is about risk taking and making connections, allowing children to explore and express themselves through a variety of media or materials including, dance, music, making things, drawing, painting and make believe and to make new things emerge as a result. Being creative is strongly linked to play and can emerge through a child being absorbed in their own actions and ideas.
1.2 – Explain current theoretical approaches to creativity and creative learning in early childhood.
Most theories of child development view young children as highly creative with a naturalness to fantasize, experiment and explore their physical and conceptual environment. Understanding of creative learning differs from those who see creativity as freedom to express ourselves to those who link it to self-discipline, practise and crafts.
Creativity is more about the process rather than the end product and this creative process is useful for many reasons, developing confidence, developing good relationships, finding out what talents and strengths we have and teaches us about who we are and what we love and what we can give to others.
Creative learning is seen to enable social skills, team work and shared problem solving through collaborative partnerships.
The ‘Creative Partnerships’ programme was set up in 2002 by the government in response to the influential report ‘all our futures’. They use the term ‘creative learning’ to try and sum up their education programme. They believe creative partnerships can help liberate the creativity of everyone involved by engaging them in fresh approaches to learning through collaboration.
They feel collaborative working has these key characteristics:
• Motivation for learning
• Bringing the curriculum to life
• Greater involvement in decision making
• New ways for learners to engage in a subject.
The Qualifications Curriculum Assessment (QCA: Creativity, Find It and Promote It 2005), promotes creativity as an integral part of all national curriculum subjects and identifies characteristics of creative learning as;
• Questioning and challenging conventions and assumptions.
• Making inventive connections and associating things that aren’t usually related.
• Envisaging what might be: imagining seeing things in mind’s eye.
• Trying alternative and fresh approaches, keeping options open.
• Reflecting critically on ideas, action and outcomes.
These characteristics and abilities have shown to lead to a sense of purpose, achievement of strengths, talents and interests, self-respect and a sense of belonging. 1.3 – Critically analyse how creativity and creative learning can support young children’s emotional, social, intellectual, communication and physical development.
The key characteristics in creativity can support young children’s development in a number of ways. Emotionally they learn how to manage frustrations if a project isn’t going to plan or can feel happy and proud and a sense of achievement when it is completed.
Socially children can build up self-confidence by working alongside or with others, creating something to share and thereby making friends.
Intellectually they are learning about problem solving, numeracy and developing their reading and writing skills.
Children’s ability to communicate with peers and adults develops through creative play as well as their overall speech and listening skills.
Physically, creativity can help develop fine motor skills by children using materials such as crayons, paints and sticking. Participating in movement activities such as dance or drama (role play) also enhances the overall physical development of a child.
2.1 – Demonstrate in own practice how to promote creativity and creative learning.
For example, during a cooking activity children are learning many skills through the creative process. They may feel happy and excited about creating their own food. They are sociable by working with adults to assist them and cooking for their friends or family members. By following instructions either written or verbal and measuring quantities they are being allowed to develop intellectually. Knowing when to ask for help and starting a dialogue around what they are doing and using can help develop communication skills especially listening and taking direction. Finally all the mixing, chopping, kneading and picking up small cut up pieces are physically developing the fine motor skills, hand eye co-ordination and building hand and arm muscles.
2.2 – Explain why young children require extended and unhurried periods of time to develop their creativity.
An unhurried period of creativity gives children time to explore and experiment with materials and use them in their own way. It also allows children to do their best work by moving from popular to more original ideas and being able to come back to it at a later date to finish.
3.1 – Explain the feature of an environment that supports creativity and creative learning.
A creative environment needs to allow children easy access to different materials and be able to move these from one place to another. It is not just about putting out paints and paper and encouraging artistic skills, but allowing the freedom to explore the space and materials around them. If children are allowed to place furniture where they want to or move things from outdoors, indoors or vice versa they will start to make connections between things more easily. Providing opportunities by making the environment stimulating, safe and rewarding will encourage the children to learn through play. 3.2 – Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of aspects of the environment in supporting young children’s creativity and creative learning.
When evaluating an environment to assess its effectiveness in supporting creativity in children you have to ask yourself a few questions. These include:
• Is it bright and welcoming?
• Are there displays on the wall that are age appropriate, bright, appealing and relevant to the children’s work?
• Is the children’s work displayed?
• Is there a good variety of equipment and is it accessible to the children?
• Are the children engaged and is that engagement sustained?
• Does the environment inspire you?
The Maples Base Room
The Maples room is bright and the staff offer a warm welcome upon entering. The displays on the wall are colourful and appealing but as they were made by an older age range of children they are neither appealing nor relevant to the current children’s interests. The room lacks displays of work completed by the current children as they have only recently moved into the room. Due to this fact the children find the variety of equipment and the fact that they can access about 75% by themselves very satisfying and gives them a sense of independence. The children show high levels of involvement at times but due to them being in a new environment can get quite easily distracted.
4.1–Evaluate and reflect on own practice in promoting creativity and creative thinking.
The focus of the session was discovering sounds and music. The age range was around two years of age.
I placed different musical instruments in the space for the children to explore. Some of these were bells, maracas, drums, tambourines, triangles and shakers. I also set out wooden rattles and toys that had bells in them and crinkly materials.
In another area I placed pasta in a tray for the children to discover and play with. Making sounds by crunching it, mixing it, scooping it and dropping it with their hands. I feel the group ran well and the children really enjoyed exploring the different sounds. I took great satisfaction from watching how they made accidental sounds with things they hadn’t seen before and how their natural curiosity allowed them to work out how that sound was made and develop them into bigger, louder or longer noises sometimes with two instruments at once.
The pasta wasn’t played with as much as I had thought it would be which surprised me as in the past it was greatly received. I think that the children weren’t engaged in it enough as once they had felt it and crunched it a bit there wasn’t much else for them to do.
In the future if I was going to use natural materials for sound making I would use more than just pasta, maybe rice or couscous as well. I would put these into shallow trays so the children could make marks with their fingers whilst swirling it around. I would also provide different containers and tools such as buckets, bottles, spoons and jugs so the children could drop the pasta in, hear the sound it makes as it drops, pick up the container and shake it, pour it back out. Use the spoon to scoop and stir and listen to the sounds this makes. Not only would this extend the sound making play it would also encourage mark making in the rice and hand-eye co-ordination by dropping into containers and also help children develop the pincer control with their fingers.
I really enjoyed running this session and learnt that young children can get a lot out of playing and exploring instruments. I also learnt that just putting out materials such as pasta, isn’t always enough to engage children in playing with it and that you sometimes need to provide extra tools for them to be able to be more creative.
4.2 – Support others to develop their practice in promoting creativity and creative learning.
I help the children when they are completing activities. I demonstrate what we are hoping they will achieve but do not force them to follow a specific chain of thought or specified route of learning. I will show them how to use equipment safely and correct grips, or holds, on brushes and pencils.
I support other members of the staff by explaining my practice and I offer advice on how they could improve theirs. This is reciprocal though and I am open to receiving advice from others.
4.3 – Develop a programme of change to the environment to enhance creativity and creative learning giving a justification and expected outcomes for each area of change.
Area to be developed Maples Base Room Why develop/reason for Disengaging making a change Action to take Re-decoration and refit Resources needed Paint. Have a plain non-distracting colour such as Magnolia but then have one feature wall of a colour that promotes brain development (this could be purple as it is the settings known colour. Furniture to allow children access to all equipment and materials except very hot water. Person responsible Management to get contractors in to complete refurbishment Date for completion As soon as possible Date of completion n/a Evaluation – improvementsWould help their creativity and creative learning but decor would deteriorate over time thus needing a and possible redecoration at least every 6 years if not more often. deteriorations.
Area to be developed Aga Room Why develop/reason for making a change Children cannot access equipment and materials Action to take New furniture needed that is of an accessible height for the children. Resources needed Furniture Person responsible Staff that undertake activities in the room and understand the needs of the children but also safety measures. Date for completion As soon as possible Date of completion n/a Evaluation – improvements and possible They will gain access to much more equipment and materials thus enabling them to deteriorations. have more choice and allowing their imaginations and connections to expand exponentially. It is the staff members duty to ensure the room is fully supplied at all times.
Supporting Children’s Creativity through Music, Dance, Drama and Art: Creative conversations in the Early Years by Fleur Griffiths
Creative Activities for the Early Years by Stella M. Skinner