How important is creativity in the early education of young children?
Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life. But nice clothes, good food and a whole lot of love is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ensuring your child’s development.
Creativity can have a positive impact on your child’s emotional, mental and physical development. But what exactly are the benefits and what kind of creative learning should you be exposing your child to in order to capitalise on these?
A child’s physical development is split into two major categories. Fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Creative learning helps develop both categories. Creative activities can also help a child’s large and small muscle development as well as their hand-eye coordination. Exercises like painting, drawing, colouring and block building help develop their fine motor skills whereas dance, skipping or even clapping to music can help develop their gross motor skills.
Creative arts like drama, music, dance, painting and drawing helps children to explore their emotions. These types of pastimes have been known to help adults deal with emotions and express difficult feelings, but introducing these kinds of exercises to children allows them to explore and understand their emotional range from an early age and will better equip them to deal with such feelings as adults. Theatre, drama, improvisation and role-playing are particularly effective for a child’s emotional development as they allow to explore and exaggerate different feelings and emotions using their imaginations.
Creative play, including role play and make-believe, can help spark a child’s imagination which in turn aids their cognitive development. Painting and mixing colours can help children learn colour names and understand different shapes. Letting older children explore the outside can also help develop their observation skills. Examining a tree, feeling the texture of the bark, looking at the different colours and shapes of the leaves and then drawing it, for example, will help develop their observational skills.
Whether they are painting, role-playing, dancing or playing music together, creative play encourages teamwork which helps develop a young child’s social skills. From sharing painting material to sharing a dancing space for collaborating in creating characters, they are learning to work alongside other children which are key to their social learning.
By allowing young children to express themselves and explore thoughts and feelings through art and creative play, you are encouraging their individuality and building their confidence. By enabling them to develop their emotional and social skills from an early age, you are helping them to understand their feelings and to be comfortable, happy and confident in their own skin.
Allowing children to explore, experiment, discover and solve problems in imaginative and playful ways helps develop the right skills for academic learning in school.
How to ensure your child benefits from creative learning?
Engaging your child in creative play at home is a fantastic way to aid their development. But to get the most out of these activities you should also ensure that they are engaging in creative activities at daycare or preschool. Choosing a daycare facility that allows a variety of both indoor and outdoor creative play is therefore key.
You should also consider a daycare or early education centre with a focus on early child language development.
Why is learning a second language important for preschool children?
Teaching children a second (or third) language at preschool age helps better prepare them for school learning. Young children are better at mimicking new sounds and adopting pronunciation than are older learners and some studies show that bilingual people are better at multi-tasking and find it easier to focus than monolinguals. Research also suggests that even babies under twelve months old who are exposed to multiple languages show different cognitive patterns in their brain compared to monolinguals.
Studies in the US also suggest that multilingual teenagers perform better in standardised English and Maths tests and other research indicates that children who are learning a second language start to read earlier than monolingual children. Learning a new language can also help train a child’s ear for music, boost empathy and help prevent age-related cognitive decline later in life.
Exposing your child to a second or third language at a very young age is beneficial in a number of ways and should, therefore, be a priority when choosing an early education centre.
Developing your young child’s skills doesn’t need to involve tests and academic learning. By exposing them to creative learning, you are allowing them to explore feelings, develop confidence in themselves, understand the world around them, develop their social skills, build their muscles, improve their motor skills and gain the necessary skills for future academic learning. And through all of this, they are simply just having fun!