Fiona Lohrenz asked:
The safety and well being of the kids at our day care is our primary responsibility as providers. Although we may often feel as though we are merely umpiring bedlam we are not simply caretakers but facilitators, charged with the important task of developing every aspect of these growing individuals. Encouraging creativity and imagination is a vital aspect of this facilitation role. Children are guaranteed a richer and more complete life if we have opened the door to multiple creative outlets. Here are some pointers on opening those doors.
Kids will learn to grow and appreciate the arts, culture and beauty following even small amounts of exposure to same. When possible arrange brief visits to the art gallery, museum or craft fair so that kids get an overview of different forms of art. Introduce music to the curriculum by playing different styles of music and have the kids dance and move about plus arrange trips to see plays and musical performances. Get out on nature walks to show the kids first hand the natural beauty surrounding them, introduce sand and water for experimental play and discover the multitude of creative activities available in the kitchen. Reading is vital and should be encouraged. Stories at story time can become rambling yarns that become plays that take on a life of their own. No limits!
A love of music is naturally inbuilt into kids. Improvising with whatever is available get the musical instruments out and let the orchestra loose. Begin having theatrical, singing workshops that breathe life and vibrancy into songs. Remember to praise all artistic attempts no matter how off the wall it appears to you personally.
Creativity demands that there be mess so allow it. Neat and tidy playrooms tend not to encourage creative spirits so put your happy face on, roll up your sleeves and revel in the mess. Laying newspapers, spreading a tarp and using art aprons can help minimize some of the damage. Don’t attempt to direct the artistic efforts unfolding around you just let them develop. Freedom of expression leads to personal works of art no matter what age the artist. If your help is requested lend a hand, discuss works in progress, ask questions but avoid critiques.
We use various fun creative, learning games to instill an awareness of ecological issues into the kids (where does paper come from, which bin does the waste paper go into) and it is a lot easier than you might think. Children are like little sponges and they are open to new concepts and ideas. Their enthusiasm is infectious and goes a long way towards changing more rigid mindsets outside the day care – I have had quite a few parents tell how they got into trouble at home for not recycling!
Many and wondrous are the benefits of imaginative and creative play. Experimentation with verbal skills is likely as children feel less threatened in imaginary situations. Active problem solving and expression of fears or concerns are also encouraged via role play. A child will grow in confidence as his heretofore untapped talents are released through creative endeavors. Welcome to the magical land of the imagination where boredom is no more!