Every Child Matters Creativity

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According to Every Child Matters (ECM), creativity is ‘more to do with a process than a product'.  From an early age, it is not what a child produces that is the most important component of creativity, but the thinking that went on as it was created.  During the early years of a child's education, it is important to help children develop their creativity.  One way to do this is to transform the space they play and learn in, for example, through the provision of hands-on, sensory spaces.  This can inspire children to engage in creative activity, encourage them to experience new things and give them the opportunity to play and learn at their own pace, and in their own way.

If provisions such as this are made from an early age, children can develop creative skills as they progress through their education.  However, becoming fully ‘creative' involves the development of skills and attributes that transcend the conventional idea that creativity is merely a thinking and creating process.  In order to become fully creative, children, in addition, need to establish purpose and intention in what they are thinking and doing, build internal motivation and develop self-management.  Practitioners can play an important role in the process of nurturing the children's creativity and its associated skills and attributes in a number of ways.  For example, it is important that they stimulate and reward children's curiosity and exploration; they should also provide opportunities for choice and discovery.  The creative development of a child is an integral part of their holistic development.  If this holistic development is successfully nurtured from the early years and then throughout the child's education, they can then further their self- and character development during their adult lives, and can consequently make social and economic contributions.     

From the literature, it is clear that Montessori viewed creativity from a very broad perspective.  She believed that creativity had the potential to exist in all children, which would lead to them becoming developed as an individual.  She found that the development of a child's creativity was directly related to the stages of a child's cognitive growth (first sensori-motor intelligence, then intuitive thought, then concrete operations and finally formal operations).

During these stages of cognitive growth, Montessori argues that a child's creative capacity is established through their interaction in the environment.  This environment must be ‘beautiful, harmonious and based in reality' in order for the child's natural creativity to reach its full potential.  Furthermore, such a suitable environment can, according to Montessori, increase children's attention and concentration spans, and even increase their levels of autonomy and independence at a relatively early age.

Another vital aspect of the development of a child's creativity, highlighted by Montessori, is freedom.  For example, a child should have the freedom to choose what they are drawn to in the environment around them, without being interrupted, for as long as they like.  They should be given the freedom to discover solutions and ideas by themselves, to choose an answer independently, and to communicate and share their discoveries with others at will.

The Montessori method aims to develop creativity by creating a suitable environment and allowing the children a great deal of freedom in what they choose to do.  However, some questions arise from this.  Is it the most effective way to develop children's creative skills?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method?  Does it work for all children?

Provide An Anticipated Structure For Your Assignment?

The introduction will be a brief overview of the thinking behind, and the ideals of, the Montessori method in early years education.  I will then explore how the Montessori method deals with the issue of the development of children's creative skills in a variety of contexts, both from a teaching and a learning perspective.

The content of the rest of the essay depends on the agreed title for my essay.  In the first instance, I will examine the effectiveness of the Montessori method by weighing up research on the topic in contrast with my existing knowledge of creativity in the early years curriculum.  In the second instance, having researched the topic, I will analyse what I deem to be the advantages and the disadvantages of the Montessori method with regard to the development of creativity in young children.  In the third instance, I will compare and contrast mainstream and Montessori schools' approaches to creativity with particular regard to the early stages of primary education.

The conclusion will again depend on which of the essay titles is agreed upon.

Explain How You Anticipate This Assignment Fitting Into Your Programme Of Studies.

I am aware of the importance of creativity and the development of children's creative skills, not only throughout all stages of primary education, but also in early years settings.  It will involve looking at both creativity and early years practice in a different way to what I have been familiar with, thus allowing me to consider both in a more rounded way.

Explain How You Anticipate This Assignment Supporting Your Future Professional Development

This assignment will allow me to study autonomously and take responsibility for my own learning in an area of educational theory that personally interests me.  I feel that this topic integrates aspects from my previous pathway (Initial Teacher Training) and my current pathway (General Education and Early Childhood Studies).

Module Leader Feedback

1. Suitability of modules

2. Is there sufficient engagement in the content modules to allow achievement of the learning outcomes for the ILM?

3. Does the assignment arise from 2?

4. Has the student given satisfactory thought to how the ILM might fit into her/his programme of studies and future career?

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