Whenever new Government initiatives launch on the unsuspecting childcare professional, there is always a backlash. It’s new, it’s a little scary, it needs working on, there are parts that don’t seem easy to implement, there are parts that seem plain daft.
Sometimes, in the middle of all this, we can forget the good bits. One of the underlying themes of the EYFS is about encouraging children to be creative in all areas of their lives, not just when they are sitting at a table making and doing.
So, for example, children might enjoy playing with cars to make tyre tracks in the paint; they might like to cut up a magazine they have chosen in the shop to make a collage; they might want to put eyes on the teddy’s bottom when creating a picture; they might not want to do the sticking activity, but instead explore the glue.
As a childminder, we need to consider our attitudes to their creativity – are we happy to get the cars covered in paint and possibly ruined? Do we say it’s ok to cut up magazines we have bought? Can we allow children to put eyes in what we might consider is the ‘wrong’ place? Is it ok to give parents a photo of little Lucy exploring glue when mum was expecting a Mothers Day card?
Of course, a big part of how we feel is asking ourselves how the parents will feel about receiving works of art that they might not understand... so a certain amount of our role must be to work with and educate parents so they understand the thinking behind our creative practices.
Ways to enhance creativity
· Leave a model out overnight... and see if children come back to it and make changes the next day;
· Show children posters, pictures on the internet or postcards featuring work by other artists and let them experiment with new ideas, shapes, colours, emotions etc;
· Let children play... it doesn’t matter if lunch is a bit late or snack delayed if they are happy. Obviously, you have things you must fit in like school collections, so plan to fit in longer play sessions accordingly;
· Include art from different cultures in children’s lives eg Mandala patterns, Australian Aborigine designs or put ‘hand painting’ into Google images and prepare to be amazed;
· Involve children in different types of creativity eg using their fingers, feet, brushes in their hands, painting with a silky scarf over their eyes... so they can explore disability at the same time. Share pictures of mouth and foot artists with the children;
· Encourage the children to talk about their work to others;
· Praise children’s works of art, take photographs of creations that go home, display artwork on your notice board, show parents how proud you are of their child’s ‘work’;
· Do not stifle creativity by using the adult view of, ‘It won’t work so there’s no point bothering’. Instead, see how the child can be supported to make it work.
Enjoy being creative with the children... :))