Most people talk about ‘creative expression’ in terms of the outcome. They see a painting, a story, a sculpture, a song, a dance sequence, a play or even just a tangle of string at the end of a craft session as the all-important end result of the creative activity.
But creative expression isn’t about the product. It’s more about the process.
Despite what many people think, creativity isn’t limited to artistic endeavours like art, music, craft, writing and drama and it’s definitely not only about a physical outcome. We can be creative with maths, science, politics, building, and business; with anything that we do! Creativity can be defined as the journey through which we use and develop our imaginations, originality, productivity and problem-solving abilities.
The same principle applies to creative expression in early childhood learning.
Every child has creative potential and every child is capable of expressing that creativity - but the process, not the quality of the outcome, should be the main focus.
An interesting perspective on this topic came from the founder of highly respected Reggio Emilia educational approach to pre-schooling, Loris Malaguzzi, who said that creativity became more visible when adults were more attentive to the cognitive processes of children than they were to the result. Children need encouragement and support to develop their creativity (and by extension, to develop important life skills like self confidence and relationship building) and the process of creative expression is beneficial to both the child and the educator.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why creative expression is so important.
Working with materials such as paints, crayons, masking tape, string, clay and glue encourages the development of sound fine motor skills in young children develop and boosts hand-eye co-ordination. Creative activities such as the above, also aid muscle development.
Creative expression provides opportunities for young children to try out new ideas, develop their imaginations and problem-solving skills and see what happens as a result of their experimentation. It helps them work out what it is that they love doing best and it teaches them that their abilities and their contributions are highly valued.
The creative experience can help young children to express their experiences and emotions through communicative avenues other than verbal. This can help develop self-confidence, communication skills and a sense of identity while helping children to cope with their feelings.
Celebrates a child’s uniqueness
The creative process also provides opportunities to celebrate a child’s uniqueness, which is an important element of developing a strong sense of self.
Creative activities enable children to experiment withthought process, actions and materials and can provide good opportunities for problem solving, collaboration and negotiation - all of which are key skills for life, as they grow older.
In pre-schools, which channel a Reggio Emilia approach creative learning is encouraged through extended projects which can either develop from children’s ideas and interests or introduced by experienced educators - and which are sufficiently lengthy so that the development of ideas, negotiations, conflicts, resolutions and progress can be seen and appreciated.
This world-class educational approach is based on the premise of co-learning where educators learn alongside the child - and it recognises and embraces the importance of creative expression. The Reggio Emilia approach also encourages self-guided learning to build on a child’s interests; an element of this approach that advocates for self -expression and endless creativity.
Across Australia, Nido Early School have been established to provide parents and children with the very best standard of education and care. Each of their centres has been meticulously planned to support the guiding principles of Reggio Emilia and their high quality furniture, fittings and ever-evolving materials provide a dynamic, inspirational and beautiful environment for children to express their creativity.
If you are interested in finding out more about this highly respected co-learning attitude which is facilitated by industry-best carers and degree-qualified educators who are dedicated to continuing best practice driven by the choices of the child, visit www.nidoearlyschool.com.au to find your closest centre.