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Importance Of Creativity For Early Childhood Development And Curriculum Provision

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Creativity according to many theorists includes many components such as productivity as the ability to create new products and ideas, problem solving ability  is to apply knowledge and imagination to come up with a solution to a problem, originality is the ability to create new ideas, and imagination. The definitions of creativity differ to the extent where creativity is identifying as a generic human characteristic. Or simply when creativity is making people that are creative different and special than others. So is creativity another word for intelligence. Well most authorities agree that creativity is different than intelligence. Creativity includes three P’s:- the “person”, the creative “process” and the creative “product” produced as an outcome of the process. (Gl?veanu, 2010),( Vygotskij, & Cole,1978). 
How is creativity important for a child’s development? Well creativity can be defined as a freest form of expression. There is nothing more fulfilling and satisfying for a child than to express himself or herself in an open atmosphere without the fear of being judged (Leggett,2017). While considering essential skills to succeed for their child’s academic path many parents think of writing, reading, counting and speaking. They believe that creativity is an intrinsic ability in some people with extraordinary and unusual talents. In fact creativity is a way of expressing oneself. It is about thinking and inventing new things. Every child is born imaginative and creative (Puente-Díaz, R., & Cavazos-Arroyo, J. 2017). Creativity in our society is usually referred to artistic endeavors but even when a toddler figures a new way to climb a chair in order to reach a cookie jar, he is being creative. He has engaged in the problem solving ability and that is how he is being creative. Each child is an inborn innovator that has a vivid imagination and has a unique and signature manner of self-expression. Children exercise to discover, question and challenge everything around them from an early age. Their hearts and mind are open for new ideas and are always ready to experiment. Creativity is a crucial factor in a child’s development. It is important for their emotional, physical and intellectual growth. According to Susan Engel the author of “Real Kids: Creating meaning in Everyday’ s lives” these days two year old’s can understand the difference between pretend and real. But when they are playing this distinction fades away and becomes less important. Why is creativity important for a child? The answer to this question is that creativity helps in development of cognitive skills such as scientific thinking and mathematics. Creative thinking includes physical dexterity, basic use of science, imagination, problem posing, using symbols and making interpretations.  Creativity fosters and promotes emotional development as it provides opportunities to express emotions. Expressing emotions in turn gives a relief and also a sense of understanding of our own emotions (James,& James,2004). Creativity also promotes social development as in childhood creativity is a social act. Activities such as dancing, puppetry, theatre and singing teaches a child to observe others and to develop an understanding of the social rules. These social rules can be as basic as cooperation and sharing. Being together in an encouraging and social atmosphere   It also supports physical development as when a child for example works with paint brushes, colors, crayons they are improving their eye-hand coordination and their motor skills. These crafts and arts are ways to encourage the child for movement, coordination, control and refining their motor skills. When the kids handle and manipulate these tools they are involved in a physical interaction with the outside world. They are using their senses to connect to the world. Creativity is also important for a child’ s intellectual growth as at a basic level they learn to sort and measure things. This helps them to make sense of the things that surround them. As they grow they build up on this and learn to develop critical thinking and to solve problems on their own. Literacy development and language is also supported by creativity as when children engage in creative projects they learn to associate pictures with the words.  Their cognitive skills develop and they learn to think outside the box.
Creativity is gaining recognition as a human characteristic that should be developed by education. It is viewed as a crucial factor for personal fulfilment and development.  According to a report of the National Advisory Committee For Creative and Cultural Education creativity has been officially recognized as overarching aims in the curriculum in schools. They reported how the curriculum in schools should encourage students to think critically. The curriculum should be focused on making the students enterprising, innovative, capable of leadership and creative. Many recent developments in the educational provision are a part of Early years Development and Childcare Partnerships and Early Excellence Centers. These early years of Education are defined as “foundation Years”. Early childhood is a crucial time to focus on the development of creativity. In the Robinson Report from the year 1999 it was reported that there are strong links between creativity and expressive arts. It also stressed on the fact that viewing creativity, solely as a province of arts is unhelpful as then it leads to denial for the role of creativity in numerous other areas as business, mathematics, and science.                                                                   
In this report they concentrated on research related to young children’s creativity and their creative development. They focused on different approaches to early education and its relationship to creativity, they researched about theories of cognitive development and intelligence and their relationship with creativity, focused on approaches to art education and its implication for creativity, reviews of evidence supporting “transferable effects” of art education, and overviews and reviews of research into creative development, enhancing creativity and creative development. When creativity is considered in young children, the criteria for uniqueness in a domain cannot be predefined and is inappropriate. As each child’s creative ability should be considered according to the stage of their personal development (Erdogdu, 2006).. For example a child’s work may be considered adaptive and not original when viewed in larger norms but that work may be original when viewed against children of his or her age group. Omatseye, & Emeriewen, in the year 2010 suggested that when we are judging the creativity of young children emphasis should be placed on the creative process and not on the product. As young children do not have the skills yet to form a creative product always Omatseye, B., & Emeriewen, K. (2010) . Creativity is more visible to the adults when they are not looking for the results but are being attentive to the cognitive process of the child. Therefore creativity should be an important part of the early education for young children. They have a distinctly different emotional, physical, social and mental functioning than older adults and children. The transformational stages in these early years mark the acquisition of capacities and skills communicating, playing and learning.
There have been numerous claims for creativity to be included in the early curriculum. As researchers like Annarella, Craft and Pittaway have claimed that creativity in the early childhood helps in identifying and establishing a framework for their whole life (Annarella, 1999), (Craft, Jeffrey,& Leibling, 2001), (CRAFT, 2000), (Pittaway, 2009). The development of these creative attitudes and skills across the curriculum would enable them to “find the routes” in many contexts of their lives. This will lead to developing a “Entrepreneurial” culture that is essential to the society. In the past it has been argued that if a climate of creative challenge and purpose is fostered it would lead to a culture of blame and whingering (Jeffrey & Craft,2001).  According to the article by Hannah Mills titled ” The importance of creative arts in early childhood classrooms”, creative arts engage and capture the child’s imagination through different forms as music, theatre, dance and music. Mayesky book also states that children express their natural creativity through art. This helps the children to accept change. They learn that some problems could have no solutions (Mayesky,2013).  They also understand that numerous problems cab also have numerous solutions. According to the Early years stage curriculum critical thing and creativity are developed through play based learning. This play has several benefits for the child’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. Donald Winnicott who is a psychologist suggests that creativity is the feeling of “being alive”. As to why creativity should be included in early childhood education, the answer is simple. Creativity in the form of art engages a child through a multi-sensory learning process. Visual arts and music help the children to thrive as each of their senses like taste, sight, smell, sound and touch specifically activates neurons in their brain. These multisensory activities have more learning opportunities in comparison to single sensory activities like reading. Let’s take an example of a music class where young children are imitating animal sounds through an instrument and also vocally and are dancing (Russ, 2016).Through this activity they are activating so many neurons in their brain in comparison to when they would be reading about these animals in a book. This activation of multiple senses simultaneously causes greater retention and lasting impressions. Creative activities stimulate development in every area of the brain. Creative activities in early childhood classroom  like dancing to the music stimulates behavior, emotion, movement, vision, balance, hearing, sensation and cognition. Children learn to love school and classes if they have creative activities in their curriculum. (Wolfgang,2000).
Creativity is as old as humanity but the importance of creativity in the early education is recently considered.  Hoffmann & Russ in the year 2012  studied how conventional approaches in education were only developing convergent thinking but the aim of contemporary education is to raise individuals that have creative thinking (Hoffmann, & Russ, 2012).. A person has creativity since birth it is not a learnt behavior and it is easier to observe creativity in children. As they are not aware that they have the power to create. Thoughts, imagination and emotions come easily to them with an internal motivation to express themselves (Erdogdu,2006). Through creativity a child can stimulate virtually every domain that fosters flexibility in the mind. Creativity should be added to early childhood education because it provides an outlet for them to gain control and explore their emotions. For example when kids engage in arts they are expressing their emotions that they might have difficulty in expressing (Soundy, 2008). This is true even for adults. Theatre, play and role playing have been found to be suitable for developing the child’s emotional ability. The childhood utilization of these areas will help them in later adulthood ability. When they are participating and exploring in these creative play it triggers their imagination which in turn expands and stimulates their mental capability. These creative activities enable them to learn new things and go beyond the belief that children reflect the world around them.
Annarella, L. (1999). Encouraging creativity and imagination in the classroom (1st ed.). Illinois: Viewpoints.
 Craft, A., Jeffrey, B., & Leibling, M. (2001). Creativity in education: current perspectives on policy and practice (1st ed.). London: Cassell.
Erdogdu, M. Y. (2006). The adaptation of creativity assessment scale to Turkish culture. Inonu University Egitim Fakultesi Dergisi. 7(12), 61- 79.
Gl?veanu, V. (2010). Paradigms in the study of creativity: Introducing the perspective of cultural psychology. New Ideas In Psychology, 28(1), 79-93. 
Hoffmann, J., & Russ, S. (2012). Pretend play, creativity, and emotion regulation in children. Psychology Of Aesthetics, Creativity, And The Arts, 6(2), 175-184. https://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0026299
 James, A., & James, A. (2004). Constructing childhood (1st ed.). Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Leggett, N. (2017). Early Childhood Creativity: Challenging Educators in Their Role to Intentionally Develop Creative Thinking in Children. Early Childhood Education Journal. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10643-016-0836-4
Mayesky, M. (2013). Creative Activities for Young Children, 10th Ed. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Russ, S. (2016). Pretend Play: Antecedent of Adult Creativity. New Directions For Child And Adolescent Development, 2016(151), 21-32. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cad.20154
Soundy, C. (2008). Young Children’s Imaginative Play: Is It Valued in Montessori Classrooms?. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36(5), 381-383. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10643-008-0282-z
Vygotskij, L., & Cole, M. (1978). L.S. Vygotsky. Mind in Society (1st ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
CRAFT, A. (2000). Creativity Across the Primary Curriculum: Framing and Developing Practice (1st ed.). London: Routledge.
Omatseye, B., & Emeriewen, K. (2010). Art in Early Childhood Education Classrooms: An Invitation to Creativity. African Research Review, 4(3). https://dx.doi.org/10.4314/afrrev.v4i3.60177
Puente-Díaz, R., & Cavazos-Arroyo, J. (2017). The influence of creative mindsets on achievement goals, enjoyment, creative self-efficacy and performance among business students. Thinking Skills And Creativity, 24, 1-11. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2017.02.007
Pittaway, L. (2009). The Role of Inquiry-Based Learning in Entrepreneurship Education. Industry And Higher Education, 23(3), 153-162. https://dx.doi.org/10.5367/000000009788640251
Wolfgang, C. (2000). Another View on “Reinforcement in Developmentally Appropriate Early Childhood Classrooms”. Childhood Education, 77(2), 64-67. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00094056.2001.10521632

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