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2014-06-11
Creativity – the benefits are endless
by Ginny Humpage, Head of Curriculum of Bebegarten Education Centre

There are unlimited benefits to encouraging creativity in children of all ages, as creativity stimulates both the left and right side of the brain. Some of the more ‘well-known’ benefits are that it allows children to be risk takers, be imaginative and original, think outside the box, raise their confidence levels, express and develop a critical outlet for all types of emotions and stimulate neural activity. Not only these, it can also enhance a sense of self, develop independence, enhance communication skills (verbal and non verbal), learn how to make decisions, be open to the ideas and inspirations of others, not be afraid of making mistakes and provide solutions to a wide range of problems. Additionally, encouraging creativity helps children to develop their maths and literacy skills, basic science concepts and their all-important fine motor skills.

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Creativity can be represented through many different forms and expressed in unlimited ways. Loris Magaluzzi (1920-1994) referred to the unlimited creative potential in children as their ‘100 languages’. Therefore, expressing creativity is not limited to what a child can paint or draw; the expression of children’s creative languages can be in many different forms. For instance, it can be through words, actions, writing, cooking, drawing, painting, sculpture, music, dance, drama, non-verbal and verbal cues, design, photography, shadow play and other forms. Being creative can be expressed in many areas of life, from business to science. It is important that parents encourage their children to express themselves in a variety of ways – we don’t want children to be fearful of making mistakes, looking silly or being criticized for expressing themselves.
Creativity can come from experience. When I first came to Hong Kong, I was so inspired by what I saw, smelt and heard, I began writing short stories and poems – something I had never done before by choice. I then wanted to capture and experiment with what I saw in different ways through the lens of a camera. By exposing children to a wide range of experiences – trips, places, conversation and interaction, books, pictures, concerts, theater, art, new concepts etc. they too will begin to be inspired and will want to express their thoughts and ideas in numerous ways. Parents should observe their children and find out what language their creativity speaks and then nurture and give their children opportunities to spend extended amounts of time trying and testing in whatever form that is. It is critical to remember it shouldn’t be about the finished product, but more about the process. Allow your children plenty of time to reflect, analyze and evaluate their work with you – it allows an opportunity for insight and depth into the creative process.

Sometimes parents and schools are quick to discourage creativity because they are worried about the mess or have an overscheduled home or classroom. It is important for adults to be aware that children really do need extended amounts of time to truly explore their creative talents. We want to inspire and extend a child’s natural creative curiosity, not deny them this special gift.

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Magaluzzzi believed that when we perceive children as strong, capable and creative, we then inspire them to reach their highest creative potential. Whilst adopting this view in my own classroom over the years, it has been easy to see in practice that Magaluzzi was absolutely right. At Bebegarten we believe every child is naturally creative – expressed in different ways.
We understand the importance of providing a platform that encourages and allows children of all ages to independently explore, investigate, question and experience firsthand. Collaborative group work, quality communication and interaction between practitioners and amongst peers deepen the thought process and stimulate new ways of thinking, new ideas and inspiration. Our teachers guide, listen and literally bring the world to the children by exposing them to a wide range of ideas, concepts, theories, experiences, materials and resources which stimulate and inspire the ‘100 languages of children’. Our children are ‘unrushed’ and in control of their creative planning without the limitations of strict time and rule restrictions. All of our children, from the babies to the eldest child, are offered a wide range of creative outlets which stimulate and extend their five senses, imaginations and aspirations – allowing time for spontaneity, fluidity and reflection. We ensure all the essential individual building blocks are provided to extend and promote a child’s creativity and lifelong learning in a fun, supportive, inspirational and stress-free learning environment.

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