Many parents have high expectations of international preschool curricula because they want the best education their money can buy for their children. In addition, a number of preschools fostering creativity in their teaching methods have enticed many parents. How do they incorporate creativity into the school curriculum?
In general, children easily get bored during the learning process at school. So, teachers should employ creativity to make their classes enjoyable. In addition to nurturing creativity, teachers need to understand the psychological aspects to children dealing with objects around them. Also, teachers need to find ways to emphasize the joy of creative activity and to help children see that improving skills in any creative endeavor is a lifelong process.
We all realize that children have an inborn motivation to learn. It means that children start learning through experimenting with objects around them. For example, the idea that water is wet and how the hands can hold things like a ball and toys. In other words, children learn through interactive participation as well as try to do something by themselves like using their hands to button their shirts. This connection between the brain and movement, if done correctly by teachers, can develop a child to be creative in addition to being knowledgeable and skillful.
National Montessori is one of the schools that has fostered creativity in its curriculum. The school system helps children develop creativity in terms of problem solving, social and time management skills. Dr. Maria Montessori, the founder of Montessori, had identified six development stages of sensitive periods for children age 1.5 to six years old in order to be creative — sensitivity to order, language, walking, the social aspects of life, small objects and learning through the senses.
Sensitivity to language is when a child indirectly acquires basic vocabulary, sentence patterns and accent of language by watching the movement of adult lips.
Sensitivity to walking is a moment when a child is about to learn to walk.
Sensitivity to the social aspects of life is when a child starts to contemplate his or her surroundings.
Sensitivity to small objects will urge a child to pay attention to detail. This is the right time for the child to build up an understanding of the world.
After having senses of sight and hearing, a child will develop a sense of touch followed by a sense of taste. This is a cycle in sensitivity to learning through the senses.
“These development stages will implant vital creative forces within a child by having the child interact with environmental situations such as being disciplined, having independence and initiative as well as a positive imagination and developing his or her intellectual potential,” said teacher Poy of National Montessori.
Tutor Time, a renowned preschool, has developed its teaching method in a way of letting its students explore the objects around them through learning and playing simultaneously. Combined with its nurturing, safe environment, Tutor Time’s trained teachers help children develop vital learning skills and social confidence.
In addition, the school has developed its newest curriculum, The Tutor Time Life Smart, designed to boost the children’s creativity in many different smart ways such as word smart, body smart, math smart, nature smart, design smart, people smart, music smart and me smart. These learning elements attract children to participate in class investigations that build problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
For example, having children involved in story telling can be effectively fun interactive learning. A good way to teach this is to have your child pick a favorite story he or she has written, then help him or her see how to make the story clearer and to correct the spelling.
Many educational experts believe that fostering creativity in children demands creativity in teachers. It means that teachers need to give children many opportunities to be creative without concern for the product. Playing with Legos or clay can be fun and will develop creative skills. When you are helping your children make a specific object, like a puppet, keep things open-ended and leave room for their own creative touches.
Furthermore, children can expand their imagination and creativity through playing with animal puppets. Liz Von Seggen, a ventriloquist from the United States, says that playing with puppets can increase a child’s willingness to acquire knowledge. Seggen, furthermore, adds that it is very important to attract children to love class. Therefore, teachers, when conducting a class, should blend themselves into the children’s world. Having creativity by imitating the character sounds will instill a love of learning to children. However, the character sounds should be from the children’s imagination like the sound of Bugs Bunny, not the voice of a human.
By Aulia Rachmat, published in The Jakarta Post, October 1, 2006.