Creativity & Education Combined

As an adult, the idea of being creative can sometimes feel daunting.  When the word itself is laid down on the table as a desired characteristic for a job or task, it can seem like one of the hardest concepts to crack.  There are streamlined ways to do things in the adult world – ways that have been tried, tested and proven to work.  If it ain’t broke, right?  But fear of creativity is, actually, a learned behavior.  As a child, the urge to be creative is as natural and normal as the urge to eat, breathe or play.  It is not only natural and normal; it is a necessary part of development for any child. 

For decades, education has been set up in a very structured, rudimentary way.  Students learn a set of ideas or bits of information, often in a specific way, over the course of several years.  Recently, though, education has seen a change of pace in the ways in which it presents information to young students – changes that are based around harnessing a student’s creativity.  Colleges, employers and the world at large are looking for young people who are innovative problem-solvers, able to work either as an individual or as an equal part of a team to complete tasks or invent ideas.  Schools are catching on to the idea that, in order to create people with this creative dimension of thought, education has to be approached in a different manner.

By definition, creativity is, at its root, about creating something; not just anything, though, something new and different.  The process of creativity, especially in children, is so much different than one might imagine.  It isn’t a structured event with goals or limits.  As a matter of fact, the most important part about letting a child explore their creativity is not setting many boundaries at all.  Just provide some space and let them go!  For instance, in painting, a parent or teacher might want to guide the child to painting something specific or to use certain colors.  By letting a child choose the colors, the method of application and the painting itself, you are teaching him or her a wide range of lessons with just one  activity!  The child is learning decision making, cause and effect, problem solving and independence while simultaneously boosting their confidence about their own abilities to create something all by themselves.  Once the painting is finished, it might then be tempting to assign your own ideas to what is in the painting.  However, creativity is fueled by allowing the artist to tell you what they see in the painting.  Where you see a tree or a rock, that child might see a rocket ship or a submarine!   A child can feel such pride and accomplishment in creating something and then being able to share it with little imposition on what it should or shouldn’t be.

Henri Matisse once said, “creativity takes courage.”  Fostering environments that welcome creativity teaches our children and students to feel safe thinking outside the box.  When children are allowed to explore their creativity in safe, welcoming environments, they learn so much about themselves and the world around them.  They discover new ways of doing things and empower themselves to feel  comfortable making decisions and using different methods that work for them to accomplish any given task.  These skills build confidence and self-esteem that carry them through their adult lives, so that, later on when they are sitting in an office and asked to be creative, the task doesn’t seem quite so daunting, but more exciting and limitless of possibilities.

Dragonfly Designs hosting custom jewelry design classes for kids and adults.

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