The environment has a crucial influence on a child’s ability to learn. Providing the appropriate degree of structure seems essential for the young child to make sense of the environment and to be able to make creative choices. Too many or too few choices can depress motivation and subsequent achievement
Creativity and creative learning do not just happen. While babies are born creative and young children are biologically disposed to play and creative learning, they will not develop their creativity unless they meet people and experience situations that encourage creative development. What practitioners can provide has a direct impact on young children’s learning. If practitioners encourage play and exploration by creating an enabling environment that cultivates creativity and creative learning, then the quality of young children’s play and exploration will be deeper.
The learning environment for young children – the importance of people Communication, skillful body movements, play, the use of cultural symbols, and creative and imaginative use of symbols are all important aspects of a child’s development during this period. Adults have a huge role in supporting children as these overarching aspects emerge and strengthen.
Just as babies and toddlers need plenty of time to be in the garden/outdoors, so too do children from three to five years. They also enjoy revisiting toddler experiences, alongside increasingly complex experiences. They can begin to take increasing responsibility for their own risk assessment (at the woodwork bench, when cooking and gardening), but they need adult support in order to do this. Children benefit from discussions about safety, and taking care of themselves, others and equipment. They also need adults who support them to care and think of others, looking after the material provision and equipment and making decisions and choices which help their development and learning.
Children do not respond well to being judged and chided by adults. They do respond well to being helped to take responsible decisions. Children need to be able to experience materials at different levels of complexity, since at times they are operating at their highest levels of possibility, and at other times they need a quieter, less exhausting day. None of us, adults or children, are at our best all day and every day.
In order to support children’s creativity and creative learning, all schools should :
You should also take a critical look at outcomes for children in your setting. Consider the following aspects:
When supporting the development of practice in promoting young children’s creativity and creative learning within the setting, you will need to collect, record and analyse information using the agreed evaluation methods and criteria. After you have analysed the information you have gathered, you will need to report the evaluation results to MaxMind in the format provided, including any recommendations for changes or improvements to the setting’s provision. You should remember to follow your play setting’s policies and procedures for collecting, recording, reporting and storing information.
Effective and appropriate staff development and training can have a huge, positive impact on workplace performance, which in turn can greatly enhance the learning experiences of the children using the setting. To be effective, staff development should take into account the needs of individual staff members and the needs of the setting as a whole. Each member of staff should have a Personal Development Plan or Continuing Professional Development Plan which includes training and personal development goals, and how these relate to the aims of the setting.
However, some early years practitioners may lack confidence in their ability to promote creativity and creative learning. For example, they may think that they do not have any creative ability or expertise. Let your colleagues know that they do not need to have any particular creative talents; it is the creative process which is important, not the end product. Being able to draw, construct or create is not as important as providing young children with positive role models for participating in creative processes,
For example by having a go, taking risks, and using trial and error to investigate possible outcomes. Some practitioners may feel uncomfortable with the idea of promoting creativity and creative learning. They may prefer to avoid risks and/or may use very structured approaches to children’s play and learning. Encourage your colleagues to be more tolerant of messy activities and untidiness; remind them that allowing children to explore the environment and experiment with materials in different ways is an important part of children’s development and learning. Reassure your colleagues that creative approaches will not result in a decline in children’s behaviour – rather there are many positive benefits, such as improvements in children’s attitudes and behaviour due to greater participation and engagement in learning.