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  1. Supporting the Creative Development of Children

  2. Providing Sensory Experiences

  3. Sensory experiences allow children to use their sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste to explore. Sensory-rich materials provide children with the opportunity for hands-on, self-directed and self-centred activity as well as the opportunity to learn.

  4. Sensory experiences have positive impacts on brain development, as repetitive play with these experiences encourages the wiring of the brain to strengthen.

  5. Sensory experiences impact on the following areas of development: • Fine motor skills, including hand-eye coordination • Creativity • Imagination in play • Social skills of sharing and cooperating, and learning to play alongside others • Emotional areas including tension release, soothing, confidence building and being able to work in a failure-proof way.

  6. Knowledge of science including experimentation, evaporation, gravity, physics, construction and engineering • Knowledge of mathematics including one-to-one correspondence, counting and concepts like weight, volume and measurement.

  7. Some sensory experiences include: • Water play-pouring, swirling, hot and cold, adding colour • Sand play- smoothing, pouring, shaking • Simple games- memory, guess the smell, feely bags, taste tests • Collage-feeling different materials • Dough or clay- manipulating, adding scent, rolling

  8. Cooking- mixing with hands, smelling, tasting, seeing reactions of ingredients like cakes rising, biscuits going brown, consistency • Science- mixing different materials like water and flour or creating chemical effects such as vinegar and bicarb volcanos.

  9. Task: • List three experiences that encourage children to use their senses. • In groups of three, design a “Sensory Room”. Use our classroom as the floor plan and design areas/spaces where children can have a sensory experience.

  10. Providing and encouraging creativity • As well as obvious opportunities children are provided through creative experimentation, these skills involve excellent problem-solving opportunities. Creative expression experience allows a child to develop a higher ability to think about things laterally and in different ways to others.

  11. Understanding Creativity • Children in late preschool and primary school are often very interested in creating things. At times it may be tempting to provide a model for children to copy, especially if the child requests this. But creativity involves the child trying for themselves. So, if a child asks you to provide a model, encourage them to develop their own model.

  12. They may need your help to think about what materials they should use or what the model may look like. To encourage creativity, have children think about how many different ways they can develop a particular object; for example, ‘How many ways can you think of to make a bird and what would you need?’ You can also encourage the children to use different materials like feathers, paper plates and glitter.

  13. Children respond well to encouragement, so the more encouragement a child receives for using their own ideas, the more creativity develops. And by encouraging children to use their own style and imagination you also demonstrate respect for each child’s ideas and skill level. • The way you set up and provide activities to children changes the activity value developmentally.

  14. Example: Think about play dough, which can be provided in many different ways, each way encouraging the child to focus on a different area of their development. • Play dough on its own encourages children to be creative as they need to develop their own ideas about its use. • Play dough with rolling pins and cutters encourages children to use their social skills and their physical skills as they roll and cut or pretend they are cooking. • Play dough and scissors or sticks encourages children to use their fine motor skills • Play dough with natural materials like bark and gumnuts encourages children to be creative as the materials are open ended (can be used in many ways).

  15. The following table illustrates how to present creative play choices:

  16. Understanding Creative stages • Stages of creativity are broken into two areas: Artistic development and imaginative play development.

  17. Artistic Development • Artistic development is described in stages that are met through a child having experiences. This means that s child who has never held a crayon, pencil or other material starts at the first stage, regardless of age. This demonstrates the importance of carers providing art experiences and in particular, experimentation as early as practical.

  18. Manipulation- at first the child scribbles, they get a feel for the materials being used and make marks or manipulations with the materials. • Symbolic- the child begins to create people and other familiar objects and names these; in the early stages naming may change, so the child may name a scribble “Mum” then later they say it is a tree. • Recognisable- products are now recognisable; the child begins to use symbols, they start to draw tadpole people and mould recognisable items out of dough.

  19. These stages highlight the need for you to allow children to produce drawings and other artworks that reflect the stage of development that they are at.

  20. Imaginative Play Development Theorist Piaget noted three categories of play: • Sensorimotor play- where the senses are used to gain information about the environment; for example, touching, feeling, mouthing, smelling, listening to and watching objects. • Symbolic play- where objects are used to represent other objects; for example, a doll is a baby or a block is a telephone.

  21. Reproductive play- where the memory is used to produce scenarios from observations of life using different media such as art, language, drama and music; for example, playing mum and dad. Many different areas of development impact on imaginary or dramatic play, making it a valuable tool for learning. Mildred Parten’s social play stages fit in well with creative development, where children interact with each other and play out their ideas. Creativity during play relies on these social play abilities to make it come alive and on the child’s ability to express their thoughts.

  22. Encouraging Creativity To encourage creativity, you should provide: • Adequate materials • Positive interactions • Uninterrupted time for exploration and experimentation

  23. In all creative experiences it is important that the resources provided are open-ended. An open-ended resource is something that can be used in a variety of ways. These types of resources do not dictate to the child what they should do with it; rather, they need to use their imaginations to decide how to use it.

  24. Some open-ended resources suitable for care settings are: • Blocks • Play dough • Clay • Construction materials • Sand • Fabric • Pebbles • Rope • Dolls • Dress ups • Scarves

  25. Example using open-ended resources: Max and Amelia are playing in home corner together. Max places some gumnuts on a plate and hands it to Amelia. Amelia takes the plate and says to Max ‘Mmm, this looks good, what have you cooked today?’ Max smiles and replies, “It’s chocolate cake and it’s got chocolate icing too!” Amelia begins to ‘eat’ the chocolate cake and says, “Tastes yum just like the cake my mum makes!” Max smiles and takes the plate from Amelia, ‘Would you like more?’ he asks.

  26. From this example, you can see that Max and Amelia used their imagination and problem-solving skills to decide what they wanted the gumnuts to be. The children's play was extended and encouraged further language and social interaction.

  27. To further encourage self-expression it is important that your interactions are also open ended. Prompt children to think further about their play or creation and to extend on what the child is doing by asking questions. These questions can help children to solve problems in creative ways. Some questions to ask include: • How did you do that? • What will you do now? • What do you need? • Have you made a plan?

  28. By giving children the freedom to to make mistakes and respecting their ideas they will gain their confidence to experiment without fearing failure. • Children can then develop the ability to see a variety of perspectives and generate several solutions, and when problem-solving, children can examine their surroundings for clues to help them discover possible solutions.

  29. Explain how, by providing the following, you can encourage creative thought and self-expression. • Choices • Stimulation • Time for play and fantasy • Independence • Exposure to diversity • Brainstorming • Encouragement • An open environment • Answers see p96 Aspire text-Support development of Children

  30. Creativity is often stifled because the type of encouragement, experiences and other influences in the environment may make a child feel pressured or insecure. Carers should avoid: • Reward- when children are not motivated by a reward they are more creative and enjoy the process more; in a creative process, rewards are not necessary • Surveillance-being observed buy others while engaged in a creative process can undermine creativity • Closed experiences- colouring or painting pre-drawn pictures gives children pre-conceived ideas of how objects are supposed to look; these types of activities use the child’s intellectual and fine motor skills more than their creativity

  31. Projects that can be completed in only one way-activities such as paint-by-numbers or kits to be assembled use skills other than creativity • Art as a reward- art experiences should be well thought out and included in the everyday program of activities • Focusing on the end product- it is important to ask children about their art while they are creating it; praise the effort, use of colour, and uniqueness

  32. Guessing what children are doing- ask them to tell you about their work rather than make assumptions that may be wrong • Displaying art at adult level- be sure the art can be viewed by children so they can appreciate their efforts • Projects where everyone makes the same or similar items- encourage individual expression; regimented se of materials and adult-directed projects indicates that you have not given children choices and that you have focused on the product rather than the process; it may also encourage competitiveness.