I Tried to Teach My Child with Books;
He Gave Me Only Puzzled Looks.
I Tried to Teach My Child with Words;
They Passed Him by Often Unheard.
Despairingly, I Turned Aside; 'How Shall I Teach this Child,' I cried?
Into My Hand He Put the Key,
'Come,' He Said, 'Play with Me.'
Creativity means having the power or quality to express yourself in your own way. Children are naturally creative. They see the world through fresh, new eyes and then use what they see in original ways. One of the most rewarding parts of working with children is the chance to watch them create. They do it all the time, all by themselves.
Our role: Nurturing Creative Instincts
Caregivers need only encourage the natural creativity that exists. Creative play can help children grow socially. It gives them a chance to see the world from other children's perspectives through their stories, pictures, fantasy plays, or movements. The more understanding children gain of other points of view, the more respect they will learn for other people's rights, opinions, and feelings.
Why Creativity is Essential
Creativity helps children feel good about themselves. You can encourage this feeling by responding positively to what they do. For example, you might say, 'I like the way you used blue in your picture,' or 'That's a good way to pretend to be an elephant. I like the way you move your trunk.'
Remember, there are hundreds of ways to be creative. Each child will have an individual and unique style. One way you can encourage children to be creative is to talk things over rather than to give specific instructions or make a model when they ask for help.
For example: If you show a child how to draw a flower or a person, they will try to draw one just like yours. This can be frustrating because no matter how hard children try, their pictures will not be as 'good' as yours because they do not have the muscle control or skill that you have. Chances are that children will compare the two pictures and not be happy with their own. They may even decide not to try. Be creative yourself and think of ways to encourage children's creativity.
Children's creativity reflects their feelings, emotions, and imagination. Children are not often as concerned with how things 'really' are but with how they 'think' they are. When working with young children, it is important to remember that the process of creating is more important than the product.
This means that children are more interested in painting, singing, or moving than they are in making a perfect picture or singing the right words to the song. Caregivers need to be sensitive to this. It is better to say 'Tell me about your picture' (or song or about what you are doing) than it is to say 'What is it?' Sometimes the child's final product may not be anything more than an expression of feelings.
Play is the most important activity in the lives of children. Sometimes it seems more important than eating and sleeping. Sometimes play is easy and fun. Sometimes play is trying hard to do something right.
Play is the work, the occupation of childhood. If you study how a child grows, and watch children play, you will understand why play is so important. Play helps children grow and change in four ways: physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally.
As you learn about these, there is one important thing to remember: all children are different. You will notice this as you watch children play. You will see differences in children who are the same age. A child who cannot throw a ball at all now may throw a ball better than anyone the next time you see the children play. Even twins grow in different ways at different times. Understanding that there are individual differences in the speed and style of growing is an important principle of human development.
When children play they learn to use muscles. Gross Motor Play involves the large muscles. Fine motor play involves use of smaller muscles. Large muscles like those in their arms and legs get stronger and work better as children run, hop, and climb. Small muscles in fingers and toes become more controlled. Babies grasp with their whole hands; 4-year-olds can easily pick up little pieces.
The ability to balance comes with the practice of walking along curbs, climbing trees, and monkey bars, and playing hop scotch. Children learn to 'coordinate' parts of the body to work together so that the whole body moves smoothly and accomplishes a task.
If children do not have enough chances to draw and paint, they will not be as skilled as children who do have these play experiences. An infant looking at a colorful mobile over the crib is developing eye muscles. The child's eyes follow the movement and color.
Moreover, children have a lot of energy. They need lots of chances to play physically in order to burn up energy, then they sleep and eat better, so they will continue to grow. At all ages, motor coordination ability depends on play experience
'You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing 'nothing'.
What! Is it nothing to be Happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long?
Never in his life will he be so busy again.'
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