Supporting early childhood professionals worldwide in
their efforts to craft thriving environments for children and adults.
By Lilli-ann BuffinGo to page: 1 2 3 4
It is tragic that many people have interpreted the exciting brain research of the last decade to mean that play is frivolous. It seems that play and recess have become misunderstood tools for learning. Those of us who really connect with children every day fear the destruction of a healthy developmental process. In homes that nurture creativity, children engage in lots of activity, fantasy, fun, and play. The more opportunities children have to play, the more they learn about objects, relationships, their environment, and themselves. Richard Gardner, a contemporary child psychiatrist, has written that the sharing of pleasure is the "universal antidote" to psychopathology.
Play is important to our well-being in every way. Schedule a play day with your staff and families. Appoint or elect someone from your staff to be in charge of fun. Post cartoons. Send funny cards. Join with the children.
Get a Life
Our lives can become stress filled and overwhelming, with too many obligations to meet. In a stressed frame of mind, we don't think clearly; our emotions become a barrier to creative thoughts. We tend to choose quick solutions to relieve our immediate anxiety instead of allowing ourselves the time to develop good solutions.
Can you remember the hobbies and activities you enjoyed as a child and throughout your life? Make a commitment to rediscover them even if it is only 15 minutes a day on your lunch hour. Read. There is no better, easierway to encounter another mind. Every great mind who ever lived is waiting to meet you at the library, newsstand, or bookstore.
Everyone is creative. None of us really knows the full potential of our own minds, but once we begin to stretch them, our minds are enlarged forever. Each of us must find and follow our passions. Constantly ask questions; get intimate with your own mind. Go outside your everyday sources of information and explore new disciplines. Don't let ideas escape! Write them down. Keep a notebook or journal. Get a small pocket-sized tape recorder. Hold idea parties. The next time you're out shopping and the salesperson asks what you are looking for, tell her you are shopping for good ideas.
Plan to do something different every day. Give yourself and staff an idea quota for the month. Don't worry, you won't run out of ideas. Creative people never do. I once read that, on average, every person has four good ideas a year, any one of which could make her a fortune.
Early childhood professionals are the most creative people I know. Creativity is a large part of what draws us to this important work. Maybe we are too tired to pursue all of our creative ideas, but pick one, just one. You never know where it might lead. I think I hear the orchestra warming up. In fact, they are playing your song!
Amabile, T. M. (1989). Growing up creative: Nurturing a lifetime of creativity. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.
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