As a visual arts educator and an arts coach I am often asked about creativity, and more specifically for advice on how to foster more of it. Here are some tips I came across that I think apply quite nicely to the students and families of IAA.
How Adults Can Encourage Creativity:
- Encourage curiosity, exploration, experimentation, fantasy, questioning, testing, and the development of creative talents. (In other words, allow children the opportunity to play – open ended materials and toys are the best way to ecourage creative play…think playdough, blocks, legos, art materials,paper,etc.)
- Provide opportunities for creative expression, creative problem-solving and constructive response to change and stress. (Often playful and dramatic re-creations of experiences can help children to assimilate and reframe them.)
- Prepare children for new experiences, and help develop creative ways of coping with them.
- Find ways of changing destructive behavior into constructive, productive behavior rather than relying on punitive methods of control.
- Make sure that every member of the family receives individual attention and respect and is given opportunities to make significant, creative contributions to the welfare of the family as a whole.
- Use what the school provides imaginatively, and supplement the school’s efforts.
How Adults “Kill” Creativity:
- Insisting that children do things the “right way.” Teaching a child to think that there is just one right way to do things kills the urge to try new ways.
- Pressuring children to be realistic, to stop imagining. When we label a child’s flights of fantasy as “silly,” we bring the child down to earth with a thud, causing the inventive urge to curl up and die.
- Making comparisons with other children. This is a subtle pressure on a child to conform; yet the essence of creativity is freedom to conform or not to conform.
- Discouraging children’s curiosity. One of the surest indicators of creativity is curiosity; yet we often brush questions aside because we are too busy for “silly” questions. Children’s questions deserve respect.
Torrance, E. P. (1969). CREATIVITY. Sioux Falls, ND: Adapt Press.