How to Nurture a Child’s Creativity
“Every child is born an artist. The problems begin once we start to grow up.”
What requires creativity? Art? Music? How about science and math? Does career satisfaction and success require creativity? The research indicates all the above.
But I argue that we should be nurturing our child’s creativity at home because it’s not being taught in school. No, it’s not the budget cutbacks in the arts either. That hurts, to be sure, but the issue is that we simply don’t teach “the opportunity to find and bring to life that which motivates [kids] intrinsically.”
Creativity Threatened Specifically in 3rd through 5th Grade
Actually, Lehrer noted, the problems begin in a very specific time frame: the years covering third, fourth, and fifth grade. It’s during this period, he says, that many kids “conclude that they are not creative, and this is in large part because they start to realize that their drawing is not quite as pretty as they would like, that they can put the brush in the wrong place, that their short stories don’t live up to their expectations—so they become self-conscious and self-aware, and then they shut themselves down.”
Parents and teachers’ task, he said, is to help kids learn how to “productively daydream.”
Lehrer’s second proposal: Teach children how to have “grit,” the perseverance and determination that’s required to create something new. He referenced the research on grit conducted by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth, who professes the maxim “Choose easy, work hard.”
Lehrer elaborated: “What she means by that is that’s important to give kids a menu of possibilities pretty early on, a menu of things they might fall in love with—maybe it’s painting, maybe it’s drawing, maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s computer science—just a bunch of passions that they could discover. [You want them to] find these things that don’t feel like work, activities that just feel like fun. And then you have to remind them—‘OK, so you’ve found something you love, the goal you want to strive for. Now you have to work hard. Now you have to put in your thousands of hours of practice. Now you have to be willing to persevere through failure and frustrations.’”
With these key interventions, Lehrer suggested, children’s vital spirit of creativity can be kept alive.
Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation
from Why We Reason
Is creative output the product of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation? Do we need a reason to work? Or is passion enough?
The ultimate goal of any education system (or parent) should be to give [kids] the opportunity to find and bring to life that which motivates them intrinsically.
Creativity Crisis for Our Kids
The Torrance test has been suggested as a better predictor of lifetime achievement than high school letter grades or even an IQ test. Psychologists place plenty of stock in this kind of evaluation, and so to observe findings that indicate that 85 percent of kids who took the test are significantly less creative than kids almost thirty years ago is cause for alarm. Last July, Kim used the term “creativity crisis” to draw attention to this disturbing trend.
Creativity Requires Time, A Sense of Play and Having Fun
Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts from the Washington Post
3. Problem Solving
6. Non-Verbal Communication
7. Receiving Constructive Feedback
image from The LocoMotif. locomotif is a creative communications boutique focused on integrated contemporary advertising. They clearly understand the value of creativity!
p.s. Thank you to Mother Reader for the heads up on this AMAZING TED Talk on Changing Education Paradigms.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.