Valuing children’s creativity at Monroe’s Nursery.

Children’s Creativity

Definitions of creativity are not straightforward as its covers such a vast area of learning. However most commonly the creative process can be defined using these individual aspects, which work hand in hand to constitute to creativity as whole.

These are;


Originality – the ability to come up with new and unique ideas on their own.

Productivity – the ability to acknowledge different views through divergent thinking.

Problem solving – the application of knowledge and imagination given in a situation

How does creativity develop within our children?

The experiences children have during their first years of life can significantly enhance the development of their creativity.

Creativity is innate within a child, most young children are viewed as highly creative, with a natural tendency to fantasize, experiment and explore their environment.

Unfortunately, this high level of creativity is not necessarily maintained, studies show that creative processes seem to slowly decline when children enter school, at around the age of five.

Therefore during the early years of life we must work hard to ensure that the time they spend with us is highly focused around creative activity to guarantee they reach their creative potential in later life.

Creativity and Early Years Education

In an early years setting, play is the serious business of young children and the opportunity to play freely is vital to their healthy development.

It is possible to encourage or indeed to inhibit the development of creativity in young children, throughout education.

Creative activities help acknowledge and celebrate children's uniqueness and diversity as well as offer excellent opportunities to personalize our teaching focusing on each child's interests.

EYFS Opinion

To follow the EYFS it is important to acknowledge their opinion, and how we incorporate it into our setting.

The EYFS proposes that creativity involves children initiating their own learning and making choices and decisions, it’s about taking risks and making connections and is strongly linked to play.

Alike to what has been previously discussed, the EYFS supports that creativity follows these certain aspects;

Having the opportunity to explore media and materials – being engaged with a widening range of media and materials, working with colour, texture, shape, space and form in two and three dimensions.

Being able to respond to experiences, expressing and communicating their own ideas – how children respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch or feel and how, as a result of these encounters, they express and communicate their own ideas, thoughts and feelings.

Creating music and dance – children’s independent and guided explorations of sound, movement and music. Focusing on how sounds can be made and changed and how sounds can be recognised and repeated from a pattern.

Developing Imagination and Imaginative Play – how children can build their imaginations through stories, role-plays, imaginative play, dance, music, design, and art.

Differences in Creative Play

Free Flow, Process Focused Art Experiences

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the concept of complete free self expression during certain creative activities, this kind of activity focuses on the process and not the finished product.

Characteristics of process-focused art

There are no step-by-step instructions

There is no sample for children to follow

There is no right or wrong way to explore and create

The art is focused on the experience and the exploration of techniques, tools, and materials

The experience is relaxing or calming

The art is entirely the children’s own

The art experience is a child’s choice

Adult Led, Product Focused Art Experiences

This type of art activity is mainly used when a product needs to be achieved, for example a card or wall decoration, but always keeps in mind that every piece of art work still needs to have individual traits of the child. Some aspects of this type of experience is essential and also ties in with building communication and language, as they will be encouraged to follow instruction off the teacher.

Characteristics of Product Focused

Children have some instructions to follow

The teacher may have created a sample for children as a guide

There’s a finished product in mind

The whole class took part in an art project at the same time.

Examples of Creative Play

Messy Play ; playdough, coloured foam, gloop, spaghetti, dried cereals etc.

Arts and Crafts; cutting, sticking, drawing, colouring, painting etc.

Imaginary Play; role play, dress up, masks etc.

Music and Movement; instruments, dance, sports games, parachute games etc.