CreativeExpression and Play 08: Children Development
CreativeExpression and Play 08: Children Development
Humanbeings can be creative in nearly every situation of their lives,including sport, arts, sciences, and cookery among others. Creativityadds value to an individual’s life by enabling him or her to lookbeyond the known and to recognize and exploit the possibilities inthe surrounding. Children are very creative due to their innatecuriosity that compels them to explore, investigate, and experimentto comprehend the opportunities in their environment. Through play,children can identify and convey an understanding of themselves andthe surrounding it is regarded as a powerful learning experiencetool in children. From birth, children investigate and familiarizewith their world through touch, vision, and hearing, and react tocolors, textures, sounds, and sights within the surrounding. It isfrom these childhood adventures that lifelong attitudes of creativityand people’s abilities to be creative are derived (Isenberg &Jalongo, 2013). Therefore, supporting play and other art activitiesthat enhance a child’s creativity is critical in the cognitivedevelopment of children. The aim of the essay is to explain howarts-based centers help in the nurturing of the creative expressionof children, how teachers should adapt arts-based centers for variousage groups of children, and the techniques that teachers can apply tomanage a center-based environment in the creative classroom.
HowArts-Based Centers Nurture Children’s Creative Expression
Arthas conventionally been an integral part of early childhooddevelopment initiatives. Through artwork, children start to representactual objects, events, and feelings. For example, drawing enableschildren to create a symbol of what they know and feel. Arts-basedcenters subject children to visual and performance arts to enhancetheir creative expression. Such centers encourage children toparticipate in visual arts such as drawing, painting, crafts, anddesign (Klatt et al. 2013). Hence, such open-ended materials asscissors, crayons, paint, clay, markers, and glue are utilized tosustain child-centered activities. Many choices (of the materials)are provided to give the children an opportunity to make a selectionof what is to be used, and the artwork to design they are thus ableto practice and enhance their decision-making abilities. During theprocess of artwork, children are given sufficient time to practiceand gain experience with the materials, enabling them in expressingtheir ideas and feelings (Cahnmann-Taylor & Siegesmund, 2013).That is because the creative process is stepwise and time-consuming,with some children completing their designs ahead of others.
Besides,arts-based centers also support performance arts (or play) such asacting, drama, dancing, songs, the use of toys, and physicalexercises to enhance creative expression in children. The play hasphysical, emotional, and social benefits to children. Physicaladvantages include increased agility, balance, coordination, andgross and fine motor skills development (Klatt et al. 2013). Also,social outcomes of play are increased empathy and compassion, betterdecision-making, improved nonverbal skills, and exceptional attentionand attachment. Finally, emotional benefits include reduced anxiety,stress and fear, calmness, improved emotional flexibility, andsuppression of emotional pain. With children at their bestemotionally, socially, and physically, they participate more invisual arts, and that increases their creative expression(Cahnmann-Taylor & Siegesmund, 2013). Because the art practicesoffered by art-based centers engages physical and mental aspects ofchildren, it is relevant to summarize that such centers help in thesocio-emotional, cognitive, and motor development of children, all ofwhich are vital for creative expression.
HowTeachers Must Adapt Arts-Based Centers for Different Age Levels fromToddlers to Fourth Grade
Itis generally accepted that arts and play vary with age in children,and teachers must be weary of the common scenarios for different agegroups. Specifically, toddlers aged 18 months to 24 months startindividual adventure and acquire knowledge through observation.During this stage, children execute several actions which teacherscan make use of to structure arts-based centers. First, they mimicthe actions and voices of others, speak short sentences, recognizeobjects, and can look at books independently and turn pages. Second,they can build thoughts, mental images, and verbal labels relating tolearned concepts. Furthermore, they can stand, walk around and climbtables, use arms to catch a ball, unbutton and zip their wear, match,sort, and classify objects, and use words to express their feelings(Isenberg & Jalongo, 2013). Besides, toddlers also show bettercoordination regarding movement and gestures at age two to three.They can make quick representational drawings, participate inself-directed imaginative play, express symbolic thought and mentalconcepts of the mental images, and comprehend self in relation toothers. Furthermore, they can paint with a large brush, turn pages ofa book, complete a puzzle, listen, utter, and experiment with words,and copy gestures and motions. From the considerations above, it isnotable that require room to adventure utilizing their whole body.They prefer standing on a table to sitting as they do their artworks.Besides, they require outdoor spaces where they can explore andgather natural objects such as sticks and stones. Finally, space forplaying with such materials as cardboard boxes and sheets is alsonecessary (Cahnmann-Taylor & Siegesmund, 2013).
Forpre-school children aged three to five years, teachers should notetheir ability to learn and associate with others, and theirincreasingly established motor skills and strengths. Pre-schoolchildren can ask questions, make up stories, print letters, usescissors, match shapes and colors, play group games, dress, uselanguage and complex sentences, and write alphabet. Consequently,teachers should incorporate spaces for pre-school children so thatthey can obtain materials to use in artwork. Besides, they requirespace for movement, dramatic play, storytelling, and dancing.However, there should be a careful selection of media, tools andother necessary materials to ensure that the pre-school children canhave fun investigating and recognizing patterns and symmetry(Isenberg & Jalongo, 2013).
Finally,school age children (five to eight years) can make accurate decisionsconcerning arts, dance, and music, which they react to with emotionsand feelings. They show firm body control, jump ropes, build modelsfrom cardboards, can spell, write, and tell stories, and attempt orcomplete tasks on their own. School-age children, especially afterclassroom sessions through the day, require space and materials tofacilitate their involvement in creative experiences. Teachers shouldprovide environments that support the construction of models,initiation of a new dance routine, and engaging friends incomplicated adventure plays, as well as the development of billy-cartamong other activities (Isenberg & Jalongo, 2013).
Techniquesfor Use by Teachers to Manage a Center-Based Environment in CreativeClassroom
Thereare several techniques that teachers can utilize in early learningclassrooms and beyond to sustain long-run academic excellence. Thefirst technique is to participate in purposeful play to enhancecreativity and imagination (Klatt et al. 2013). It includes theincorporation of the library, dramatic play, science, and engineeringand art areas. Mathematics games, open-ended literacy, and orallanguage practice through poems can be involved to develop a child’scognition. The second technique involves the provision ofopportunities for child-centered construction. With regards to that,teachers should create a visual poster that details the steps fordesign to adequately engage children in the process of designing(Koster, 2014). The third method entails the use of differentiatedinstructions in which the teacher incorporates the three learningstyles of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Besides, the trainerscan also differentiate by permitting the children to chooseactivities depending on their areas of interests. Throughdifferentiated instructions, children become motivated to learn, andin addition to the play, they acquire knowledge to the maximum.Finally, teachers must also include the technique of engagingchildren in goal-setting through conversation related to childprogress and challenges. Free printable behavior charts can beutilized to create individual achievement data for early learners(Koster, 2014).
Asdiscussed above, art or play activities are necessary for the social,cognitive, and physical development of children, all of which enhancecreativity among the young individuals. Therefore, educationpractitioners must always create environments that support activitiessuch as drawing, construction, painting, dancing, storytelling, andsinging to ensure that the creative expression of a child isadequately developed.
Cahnmann-Taylor,M., & Siegesmund, R. (Eds.). (2013). Arts-basedresearch in education: Foundations for practice.Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Isenberg,J. P., & Jalongo, M. R. (2013). Creativethinking and arts-based learning: Preschool through fourth grade.New York, U.S.: Pearson Higher Ed.
Klatt,M., Harpster, K., Browne, E., White, S., & Case-Smith, J. (2013).Feasibility and preliminary outcomes for move-into-learning: anarts-based mindfulness classroom intervention. TheJournal of Positive Psychology, 8(3),233-241.
Koster,J. B. (2014). Growingartists: Teaching the arts to young children.Boston, U.S.: Cengage Learning.