Christmas is a time when children will be doing lots of creative activities. Some parents worry that this is of little educational benefit and they should instead be working at more academic things.
But few understand that many vital skills are developed by doing creative activities.
Sir Ken Robinson, an innovative educational thinker, is an advocate of more creativity in our curriculum. He believes creativity is as important as literacy and believes we are actually educating people out of their creativity which is detrimental. (Listen to him here)
And in an article on EducationSpace360 LC Pearson explains how creativity is also important for our children emotionally and how this affects their behaviour, which in turn influences their educational achievement.
So, limiting creative activities through a heavily academic curriculum will also limit our children’s educational achievement.
Much of the curriculum is so prescriptive it gives little opportunity for them to make decisions, solve problems, pose questions, make choices, develop ingenuity, use initiative, produce ideas and expand other essential mental skills.
But creative activities provide opportunities for kids to practice all these. They also help to get the children engaged and involved far better than academic study does. It gets them talking and interacting, cooperating and compromising, sharing and discussing, and involves numerous practical skills depending on the activity.
Basically, anything that children have to think out for themselves extends their educational progress far more effectively than activities where they are told what to do and to passively get on with it.
Once beyond school, some Universities and employers feel that, although youngsters have qualifications, they lack many other skills so essential to functioning outside it; the ability to think for themselves being the most important. They also lack independence.
It’s easy to see why when a structured school experience requires them to do as they are told rather than be independent, or think for themselves.
Creative activities provide valuable opportunity to develop some of that independence as it requires children to have original ideas. This gets their brains truly working. And original ideas are what make our industry, research and technology progress.
If we neglect to develop these skills in our kids we are neglecting to give them a rounded education and a chance to develop their true potential.
This is why all creative activities are so vital in education, whether they take the form of performing, designing, creating computer games, any form of artworks or craft activities.
And Christmas is the ideal time for families to all join in and extend their repertoire of skills through card and present making, baking and cooking, imaginative decorating and festive arrangements, creative wrapping or just thinking ingeniously about creating Christmas on a tight budget!
It’s all educationally valid.