Children are intuitively curious. They love to explore things and experiences, try out new ideas and have lots of questions. At Aurora Early Education, we encourage curiosity as it sparks creative thinking. Children show their creativity in drawings, dramatic plays, songs, dance, and through a variety of other ways. Creative thinking, in fact, can significantly promote intellectual, artistic, and socio-emotional development in children!
Creative thinking further aids the child to navigate confidently through this ever-changing world. Encouraging creative thinking in early childhood has thus become ever more important. When nurturing creative thinking, it is essential that parents don’t judge their children’s choices or feelings.
On the other hand, if a child is hesitant to explore or ask questions, fearing parental disapproval, the tendency to be curious and think creatively will start declining. To prompt creative thinking in children, they need to feel secure and supported.
Discussed here are a few ways to encourage creative thinking in early childhood.
1. Drive their curiosity
Children are instinctively curious. As a parent, you just need to drive their curiosity in the right direction. You can do this by engaging them in meaningful conversations. For instance, you could tell them why littering is bad and how it affects the plants and animals around us. So, you talk about something that would trigger their curiosity and they will be exposed to the hidden implications of the topic that you bring up.
2. Provide children with free space and the resources
Creativity needs room to breathe. Give your children a space (it could be even a corner in your living room) and some resources ( these could include art supplies, cardboard boxes, puzzles, blocks etc.) Ensure you have kept the resources organised in trays and boxes; this will not only allow your child to easily access them, but also encourage them to think about the importance of organisation. In this space, children should be able to play on their own, unfettered by adult direction and experiment with and manipulate colours, objects and textures, and materials.
3.Opportunities to express divergent thoughts
Instead of trying to structure your children’s ideas to fit to your own, try to adapt to theirs. Be open and accept unusual ideas or the “divergent thoughts” from them. Let them find more than one solution to the question you pose or the problems that naturally occur in daily life. For instance, consider asking them to name the things they could think of which are red and you would be surprised at the things they may list – apples, toys, the dress, a shirt, your lipstick shade and so on. Encouraging children to think divergently about seemingly small things will build on their ability to think creatively in larger areas. It will also make them more open-minded!
4. Avoid reward strategies
It is essential that you let your children pursue creative activities that they enjoy or are naturally inclined to do. Motivating your child to do something with rewards or offering them an incentive for exhibiting creativity is something, which you should avoid. Rewards interfere with children’s flexibility of thoughts and their creative process.
5. Focus on the process
When encouraging creative thinking in early childhood, rather than evaluating what your child has achieved, your focus should remain on the process. You can do this by asking them if they enjoyed the activity. A non-evaluative atmosphere helps young children generate new ideas, revise their own ideas and explore their abilities, fostering creative thinking.
6. Answer them enthusiastically
Always respond to your children’s questions thoughtfully and enthusiastically. It will urge them to explore more things, which in turn will enhance their critical thinking ability. Moreover, they will feel assured that even if they don’t know something, you will be there to answer their impulsive questions. Make your children feel that it’s okay if they don’t know the answer to something.
Laying the Pathways to Learning
All children are creative in different ways; one thing that caregivers need to refrain from doing is comparing their child’s creative ability with his sibling or a peer. Every child exhibits a behaviour, which indicates his potential of thinking. Ensuring that your children have an opportunity and confidence to explore, seek and challenge assumptions can pave the way to new learning.
Also, when we talk about creative thinking, we should realise that it infers to the flexibility and adaptability of thoughts. These help promote the feeling of self-confidence and self-worth, which are the key to the overall wellbeing and socio-development of children. Encouraging creative thinking in children is thus not just vital for their individual welfare but to the world at large as well.
Creative thinking forms an integral part of Aurora’s curriculum. Our rooms encourage curiosity and are designed in a way that allows children to freely explore and experience new ideas, concepts and ways of thinking. Our teachers are constant observers and understand each child’s strengths, style and thinking.