The first part of the secret is that there are two ways of being creative. Which are you or are you both? Being an early childhood teacher allows us to be both if we DARE. We get the opportunity to dance and sing everyday and children encourage and delight in our performances.
What holds you back? Want to move past this? Here is a technique I use. The “but what if” question. So, like me you probably say ‘I can’t sing or paint’ and that would normally stop me and I would move on or redirect myself. Using the ‘but what if’ invites you to be open to possibilities and other ways of being creative.
'I can't paint' but what if I...
That is what led me to tweak others ideas. I now see tweaking others ideas to make them my own as being creative. The haunted house by Hello wonderful is a great example. I saw it and liked it but knew as it was I would not use it and so I thought ‘but what if’ I could adapt it for a book. The book that I immediately thought of was The and Kuia and the spider .
I enlarged the house to be the Kuia’s whare and photocopied images from the book. I wanted it to be interactive so I attached the bottom of a kete so the children could go to sleep on or in the weaving.
You will also see my story spoon tweak below. I call these interchangeable story spoons as they can be used for more than one story and rhyme. I always aim to have more than one use out of a resource. Here they have butterflies attached. Velcro dots have been used so that you can change what is on the spoon and there are so many possibilities. Felt, natural resources, patches, cardboard etc.
Being creative is also to look at the world and the things in it through ‘teacher eyes’. Maybe you don't realise you are doing this or that you are indeed being creative! You see something and it somehow gets you thing about how you could use it in your early childhood setting. I often wonder how would or could I use this or how would or could the children use this. What is of interest at the moment and how can I extend on this? In doing this I am able to intentionally make an environment in which they can be the singer, painter or storyteller.
Creating an environment that supports and encourages creativity can start from many perspectives or places, be it the child or the teachers. In order for an environment to be a creative one or one that encourages creativity I believe there needs to be:
1. A willingness to fail. Seeing failure as a way to learn and experiment.
2. An attitude to give anything a go, use of imagination and not about the resources or lack
3. A sense of wonder from teachers and this can be found in or from children (as adults we
can lose this and children can reignite or inspire this in us)
Two of my go-to ways to support creativity in the environment at the moment are loose parts and transient or ephemeral art.
They are open-ended, it requires the child to use materials with little to no direction and is inexpensive. I enjoy the opportunity to collect items, see what the children will create with them and learner agency. Items can be from nature, recycled or store bought. As you will see I love frames but mirrors are great too.
I hope you now see you ARE creative and that this a secret that needs sharing!
(There are affiliate links and if you chose to use them then I will get something to support the continuation of the blog and it will cost you no more.)