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Can creativity be taught?

Jacqui Lee

Enjoying the last glorious sunshiny days of Autumn, the children, now confident and secure in the daily rhythms of their Early Childhood Classroom, are chasing the whirling autumn leaves, sailing grand ships, racing the wind on their pretend ponies and preparing dinner inside their blanket-covered cubbies.

Creativity begins with attitude and it is found in the insatiably curious and imaginative approach to life found in every four year old. Watching the children play you realise that our world is where it is because of the amazingly creative people that went before us; and what our society will become depends on the creative potential of these children.

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Today’s forward-thinking educators are looking at how they need to redesign classrooms in order to build on the three R’s – reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic to merge them with the four C’s of 21st Century learning – creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.

As teachers, how do we know that we are doing enough to prepare the children in our care for a world of work where the jobs of today are not longer relevant and those of tomorrow don’t even exist yet?

If creativity is now recognised as the highest level of thinking on Bloom’s taxonomy, then the question is, can creativity be taught?

Definitely! Creativity is something that needs to be practiced; it’s the process of trying and failing and trying again. Children learn about the world through movement. This is the primary medium through which young children explore the world and learn to integrate information derived from the senses.

Fortunately, young children already have a fundamental biological need to move in order to explore and understand the world in which they live.

Our hour long walks each day take the children over every obstacle that can be found on our way, whether balancing along large logs (the bigger children can now do this backwards), climbing and jumping off tall boulders, running up hills and across flat grass or pencil rolling back down hillsides.

The children have no hesitation to openly tackle these obstacles in whatever capacity they can. We are so fortunate that our school is situated on such interesting grounds and even our youngest of children who are barely four years old make the trips easily.

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Play is also a necessity. Creative play is not linked to the achievement of a specific purpose or an end result. During play children create and solve their own problems, teaching them the problem-solving skills they will need to tackle future challenges. In our Early Childhood rooms, the environment, toys, space and time for self-directed play is given the highest priority. Between the ages of three and five, observations of people, objects and occurrences in the surroundings of the child come to life in play through the child’s imitation and imagination.

Using the materials provided in the classroom and in the playgrounds, the child explores the properties of the physical world and begins to understand the effect that one’s actions can have on the environment. The play is intensely creative and is based on the inner mobility of the child in changing and transforming open-ended play objects and situations with ease. This is how a stick becomes a sword, a wand, a horse or a fishing rod, or a box becomes a boat, a bed or an oven.

So, can creativity be taught? By providing an environment that meets the child at each stage of development we encourage the development of self-confidence which leads to greater risk-taking and this is essential for creativity.

Tuesday 24 May is Orana Steiner School’s Open Day. Visitors to Orana Steiner School will enjoy a tour of the school campus and hear more about Steiner Education. There will be tours for Early Childhood to Class 3, Classes 1 to 7, and High School and Senior College.

Spaces are limited so please book today to secure your place. For more information and any enquiries regarding the Open Day, please contact the Orana Admissions Officer on (02) 6287 8301 or email [email protected].

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Jacqui Lee

Jacqui Lee is Director of Early Childhood at Orana Steiner School in Weston. Orana Steiner School is an independent, co-educational and non-denominational school set in 13 hectares of unique, natural landscape in Weston. Founded in 1981, it has developed in size and reputation with over 600 students from Early Childhood to Year 12. As well as providing a challenging and stimulating environment for the study of a complete range of subjects from pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, Orana strives to nourish the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual development of its students. Visit www.oranaschool.com. More about the Author

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