Creativity comprises using one’s ideas and imagination to come up with something valuable. This could range from finding a solution to a problem, creating art, or inventing something useful. Creativity is key to success and growth throughout a person’s education, career, and life overall.
Often people mistake creativity for being an innate talent; however, it is more about a way of thinking that can be nurtured. When we describe someone as creative, chances are the individual has worked day and night and practised specific skills to master their art.
Ways to encourage creativity in children:
Following this logic, top schools in Singapore are creating an environment conducive for children to unleash their creative side. Parents and educators can cultivate creativity by setting the right atmosphere and following certain best practices.
Pick the Right School
The first step towards encouraging creativity in children is sending them to a school in Singapore that does the same. There is a famous quote by the legendary Picasso, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up”.
This is one of the reasons why choosing a school becomes key. The school one picks for their child can either dampen their creativity in the quest for academic brilliance or hone their creative side and allow them to explore it. Creativity is an integral component of the IB diploma programme; schools in Singapore encourage children to create art & enjoy it, enabling them to be resourceful & improving their self-esteem.
There Are No Bad Ideas
Children always come up with new ideas, and these are a manifestation of their creativity. To ridicule or dismiss their ideas is essentially discrediting their creative side. Every idea cannot be good, so understand the thought process behind the not-so-good ones.
Some parts will have a rationale and deserve merit, work around the irrational bit and let them brainstorm their way out of it. If parents and teachers are dismissive, children will become afraid to make mistakes, bringing down their creative thought process. Make them feel like it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them.
Don’t Label Children as Creative or Dull
One may not realize it, but children are very impressionable. Saying something unconsciously like ‘Hannah is not really creative; she is much better at science’ can have an adverse impact on the child.
They get discouraged from trying their best at creative subjects or showing interest in hobbies. Instead, one should actively encourage exploring multiple activities and academic subjects without judgement.
Practice Being Creative
One often associates being creative with artists, musicians, storytellers, and the like. And the biggest misconception is that these people are born with creativity. If they were born with it, they would not have to practice.
The masters we know today have worked relentlessly and put in hours of practice daily for decades to reach where they are today. There is no escaping practice and hard work in developing creative skills.
Allow Children to Be Independent and Free
Parents tend to help their children when they see them struggle with something. Children who are left to figure things out independently rely on their imagination and creative skills. Give children the independence to explore what interests them, which is the best way to encourage creativity.
Children strive for independence at a very young age; allowing them to start small, like making simple choices and trying not to micro-manage them helps them apply themselves. If kids draw outside the lines, come up with their plans for the day, and make up new games – this is them being creative.
Help Children Pursue Their Passions
Parents often persuade children to pursue hobbies and sports and make academic choices of their liking. It is not about what parents enjoy or what they want their kids to excel at – it is about the child’s interest and their following their passions.
Parents should expose children to various activities and give them the freedom to decide their area of focus to nurture their creative minds. When children are fully engaged in an activity and are passionate about it – they will be much better at developing their creative skills. Parents must also be aware that children are fickle-minded and should not get disheartened if the kids change their minds.
Allow Children to Witness and Be Part of Their Parents’ Interests
Parents should take their children along with them when they pursue their hobbies. Children may not be old enough to participate, but they can develop an interest in what their parents are up to. Kids seek to emulate role models; it is a well-documented fact that parents are typically kids’ first role models.
Children are naturally curious about what their parents do and thus must lead by example. Kids should accompany their parents for activities ranging from camping and shopping to painting and swimming.
Reduce Media Consumption
Children should consume different kinds of media, such as YouTube, TV, the internet, etc., for a limited time. This is because when children watch a TV show or video, they absorb information without processing it or thinking about it proactively.
If they spend hours daily consuming content, it can get in the way of their creativity. Instead, encourage children to paint, story-tell, and read a book so that there is a healthy balance between creation and consumption.
Keep It Easy and Simple
Parents must be more relaxed to bring out their children’s creative side. Running from one class to another activity and always being on the go can be overwhelming for the child and tiring for the parent.
Sometimes just being basic and having a simple plan is a great thing. In fact, the less the children have to work with, the more they need to apply themselves and be creative. Just give them water, paper, colours, glitter/ paint tubes, magnets, and other essential stationery and let them have at it.
Pay Attention to Technology
In today’s fast-paced, technologically advanced world, it is wise to use technology to encourage creativity. New international schools in Singapore use technologically advanced tools and gadgets to support their students’ creativity and ensure they stay ahead of the changing times.
Technology can be great for supporting a child’s creative side. Children can do many activities that involve applying themselves to tablets and other devices and thus, these technologies should definitely be used prudently.
To conclude, creativity is very important because it permeates multiple facets of an individual’s life. Being creative allows children to solve problems, try new things out, think outside the box, and overall become confident. Thus, creativity should be given importance and nurtured from the very start.