Why Creativity is so important for children today
We now know that learning happens more efficiently when our logical and intuitive thinking work in cooperation rather than isolation. That does not mean that different situations or subjects do not require a predominance of one type of thinking, but that their integration, the connection between both, is crucial for successful learning and productivity.
Creativity is fundamental for our development, not only because enabled us to create unimaginable solutions in all spheres but because its process engages both sides of the brain and therefore promotes actionable learning, the ability to solve problems, to connect different kinds of information and think for one self.
Creativity is an intrinsic characteristic of the human being, a critical factor in our survival. People through the ages have found pleasure on exercising creativity and play. Creativity has infinite forms and art is a powerful way to express it. Our oldest evidence of artistic creation is dated from around 77.000 BC (oh wow) and art has a continuum presence throughout different civilizations and cultures, at times of prosperity or hardship. Play – an essential component of creative processes - is energising. Through art, the invigorating aspect of creativity can be enjoyed by both the creator and his/her audience/community in a similar way.
Young children learn creatively
When my first son was born, I was amazed to see that how he learned his first motor skills and about the world around him was very similar to a creative process – the same creative process that we studied over and over in my post-graduation in physical theatre and devising.
It is now scientifically proven that our first childhood (0 to 6/7 years old) it is an intense phase for fundamental brain development and particularly optimum time for the development of its right-side (generator of the intuitive, creative, holistic, visionary thinking). Play and exploration are now recognized as powerful learning tools for young children and are often used as a way of acquiring more rational and logical capacities (as literacy and numeracy). What we now understand is that right-brain activity is not only brilliant on intellectual acquisition – but they are also responsible for other precious skills.
So while children are exploring, playing and creating they are not only learning about their physical and cultural environment, but they are also learning other primary and vital skills: the hows. In other words, they are learning how to be an explorer, a player, a member of a group, a creator.
Yearly childhood holds the optimal opportunity to learn these crucial experimental skills, more than any other content. Enabling children to engage in rich creative processes on a regular basis, it’s an excellent way of supporting their whole development and also has amazingly positive implications on rational and logical learning later on. [i]
In our world today
Different pedagogies and psychology theories have pointed out the importance of creativity, playfulness, curiosity for the development of the human being as a whole and its impact on happiness and fulfilment. In our fast-changing technological word, creativity became not only a valuable personal skill but also a professional one. Its importance is proliferating in the marketplace, either as an essential skill to start an entrepreneurial journey, or as a competence desired by organizations in the most different fields. Research also shows that creativity will be more and more valued in the years to come.
Creativity enables us to train many skills which are very important for today’s world, and that require the engagement of intellectual capacities as much as intuitive/emotional ones; as adaptation, problem-solving, resilience, working collaboratively and self-direction.
The beautiful and surprising thing of all of this for me is that a creative process can not only produce a meaningful or useful product (the painting, the dance, the recipe) but it also conceives the creator.
Creativity happens in the flow of being and doing. It needs intention, an audience, and work. It is one of the most vital skills to nurture and to learn from your little one.
[i] See: Blythe, S.G. (2005). The Well Balanced Child: Movement and Early Learning. Hawthorn Press Early Years Series, 77-91 for insights on music and intellectual development