How to develop creative thinking in young children?
As they grow older, a child’s degree of a success depends on how well they handle the different challenges that life throws at them. Though some problems can be handled with experience and others with good advice, life puts you into tricky situations that demand an unconventional approach. Creative thinking is the key to untangle the complex knots of life. But how can you sow this creativity in your children?
Sometimes we unintentionally limit our kids in a box of our own expectations. Give your children the freedom to follow their passion. It is observed that children who follow their interests are better at performing it than those who are compelled to do it. Pursuing their interests, keeps them actively engaged and nurtures creative thinking.
“There’s something about living life with passion and intensity, including the full depth of human experience that creates an environment conducive to creativity. In my own research, I found that affective engagement — the extent to which people are open to the full breadth and depth of their emotions— was a better predictor of artistic creativity than IQ or intellectual engagement,” says Scott Barry Kaufman in the Harvard Business Review.
Whether your child is passionate about arts, mathematics or science; encourage them to explore their natural inclinations and provide them with an environment that enhances their strength.
Give your kids the freedom to engage in activities of their choice. As parents, we are often so anxious to raise successful children that we pack their entire day with the activities we choose for them. Take a step back and allow them to think independently and make their own decisions. Young children have the ability to learn and absorb from the environment around them. Unstructured play is as important as the structured activities you plan for them. Children who are involved in unstructured activities get time to use their creativity and imagination. Research reveals that boredom sparks creativity. So it is important to let your kids enjoy the occasional boredom and activities that they love to do.
Involve them in problem-solving activities
You can preserve the inquisitive nature of your children by keeping them engaged in problem-solving activities. It is this curiosity which unleashes the creative thinking in your children. Creativity is not about accepting the conventional way of doing things. It offers you different perspectives with the opportunity to choose the best. You can make learning fun by encouraging them to play board games. You can start with the beginner levels of games like Lego and Sudoku which not only enhance their creative skills but also improve their problem solving abilities.
Reasoning with kids is another way of stimulating their curiosity and creative thinking. Don’t teach them conventional ways of solving a problem. Ask them the different ways in which they can approach a riddle. Creative mindsets are formed through stimulation in an environment that encourages problem solving.
There can be different ways of encouraging creativity and passion in your child, but it is important to find a caring environment which focuses on inculcating the love for learning in them. A preschool that recognises the uniqueness of your child and works towards guiding them on their individual path is crucial to the all round development of your children. The children’s house understands the influence of early years in the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. Hence, it provides an environment that is completely centred around the well-being of your child. Every activity has been designed to stimulate the curiosity of your child as he progresses to the next level. A wide range of interesting activities like Tots Arts, Tots music, Tots Read and Tots Gym provide them an opportunity for exploration and problem-solving.
The Montessori Method of teaching at The children’s house ensures a nurturing environment that focuses on the individual needs and development of your little one. It recognises the innate ability of a child to absorb and learn things when they are kept in a prepared environment. Children are given materials that engage them and help them to discover their natural inclination. It believes in respecting the child by giving him the freedom to select the material he wants to work with. When your children are allowed to engage in a learning activity of their choice without interruption, they get an opportunity to explore their interests.
The children’s house focuses on the all round development of your child through activities and materials that drive passion and stimulate creative thinking in them. Above all, the method of teaching encourages them to become well rounded individuals who are contributing members of the society.
Teachers play a great role in our lives, especially in the early days and have a greater impact on our successes than we typically realise.
Children, especially at a young age are so excited about the world around them. They are filled with curiosity and an imagination that is sincere and generous. Every day is an opportunity to discover something new about themselves and the world around them. Thus, it is important that they find teachers who are filled with the same passion, allowing them to explore their talents and inculcate the love of learning. Every child is unique and a passionate teacher can identify their uniqueness and support them on their individual paths. A passionate teachers cares enough to provide all the support and resources necessary for a child’s development. It is these early years of a child’s growth that form the foundation to later years as a successful adult.
Lasting impact of a teacher on young minds
In his blog The GatesNotes, Bill Gates writes about how Mrs Caffiere, a librarian and teacher, helped him break out of his shell by sharing her love of books with him. While Gates was a timid 9-year-old boy shying away from everyone and trying to hide his love for books, Mrs Caffiere helped him recognise his strength and encouraged him to do what he loved.
“Looking back on it now, there’s no question that my time with Mrs Caffiere helped spark my interest in libraries (Melinda’s and my first large-scale effort in philanthropy) and my focus on helping every child in America get the benefit of great teachers,” says Gates in his blog post A Teacher Who Changed My Life.
Teachers are the ones who recognise the natural talents of the students and build an environment that is conducive to their learning. It is remarkable to see how a teacher can have such a powerful influence in shaping the personality of a young child.
What does research say about teachers?
The influence of a teacher is not just limited to a student’s academic life but goes a long way resonating through various other stages. Economists Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman and Jonah E. Rockoff conducted a study on more than a million students and released it in their paper entitled, The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teachers Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood.
They found that high ‘value-added’ teachers not only have an impact on the test scores of students but also improve their chances of attending good colleges, earning more, living in better neighbourhoods and saving more for retirement.
However, it is also important to understand that a teacher who lacks interest can be detrimental to a student’s development. Such a teacher might just follow the instructions of the regulators, being ignorant to the needs of the student.
Just like the passion of a good teacher is contagious and motivates students to achieve higher goals, an indifferent teacher can lead to lower self-esteem in a child. When children feel accepted by their teacher, they believe in themselves too. On the contrary, an uninterested teacher might tear down the self-esteem of the child. Such children often grow up to be adults who are insecure and focus on their failures more than their successes.
The mind of a young student is fragile and needs to be moulded and nurtured in order to pave the way for success. If the talent of a child is not recognised and nurtured, it leads to low self-confidence and often a state of delusion about what they want to do in life.
Research states that it is what teachers know, do, and care, which accounts for 30% of the student’s achievement. While one student might need the motivation to play the next match after an injury, the other might be going through personal troubles and needs someone to talk to. Students in all stages of their life need a teacher who can inspire them and re-instil faith in their capabilities.
Do you remember that one teacher who inspired you to be who you are today?
Is there an optimal age for preschooling?
Most of the preschool start enrolling children at the age of 3 years, but does that mean your child is ready for it? More importantly, are you ready for it?
The readiness of your child to join a preschool is not determined by his age. It might be tempting to look at a set of interesting activities and conclude that your child will be able to do it. But the important question is: Is your child ready to part with you and join a structured programme along with other children of his age group?
Experts suggest that preschool is an experience that should not be missed. As a parent you want your child to have a solid foundation to start with. But it is equally important to analyse its benefits and pitfalls before you decide to put your child in a preschool.
Preschools help your child develop social skills
The benefits of preschools isn’t just limited to just academic growth of your child. Some parents tend to push their children to join a preschool thinking their children will get ahead in academics. Contrary to general belief, the most important benefit of a preschool is that children learn to socialise and interact with other children and teachers. It inculcates the love for learning in children and teaches them how to share, adjust and get along with their peers.
Playdates and outings are not always enough for the child’s social development. At preschool, your little one learns to get along with other children and resolve his own conflicts without the intervention of parents.
You cannot replicate the same environment at home
The comfort, free play and values that kids receive from staying at home cannot be denied. At the same time, preschool offers an organised learning environment that cannot be created at home. It offers the right mix of structured and unstructured activities to enhance the growth and development of your child.
Even if you decide to teach your child at home, it is very difficult to stay consistent with your efforts. You have to intentionally work on teaching your child the skills that other children are learning at school. The curriculum at preschool is composed of activities and materials that entice the children to remain engaged and help them learn unconsciously.
Your child learns to trust and build relationship with others
A toddler is usually very attached to the caregiver and has a difficult time being with other adults. Some of them might even feel strange in the presence of friends and family members. Going to preschool gives your child the opportunity to interact with other adults apart from you. He will be able to talk and voice his concerns to teachers. Hence, it fosters a feeling of trust and the child feels assured even when you are not around. Patience is also an important virtue that the child imbibes during his journey at school. Children are used to undivided attention from the family and the caregiver. Whereas, at preschool, they need to wait for their turn as there are other children who require the same attention.
It prepares them for smooth transition to school
Preschool provides an environment that prepares your child for a smooth transition to kindergarten and school. Getting up on time, eating lunch by yourself, following the instructions of teachers, playing and getting along with other kids, and learning in the class are few activities that prepare the child for his daily routine at school. In short, it bridges the gap between home and primary school.
Handling the anxiety of separation
If your child is not ready for preschool, he might go through separation anxiety and stress that makes you feel guilty about your decision. Going to school is a big change in the schedule that your toddler has become accustomed to. He sees new people around and takes time to trust and understand teachers and peers.
As a parent, you need to be prepared to handle difficult mornings when your child doesn’t want to go to school. Kids might get sick, throw tantrums or put up fights in the initial days to stay home. Be prepared to handle these challenges and take extra care of your child in these initial days.
Difficult daily schedule and timings
While some preschools have a flexible schedule, others demand that a strict routine be followed. This might make it difficult, especially for working parents. Moreover, the high cost involved in before and after school facilities make it a tough call for parents. You might need to leave soon or start early depending on the schedule of your child.
Packing lunch and other toiletries
The best thing about having a caregiver at home is that you have everything ready for the child at home. From daily meals to changing of diapers, you don’t need to worry about anything. This is not the case when your child starts going to preschool. You are responsible for preparing food and packing it according to preschool’s instructions. You might also need to pack spare clothes or a blanket in case it is required by the school.
Preparing your child for preschool
Before you decide to put your child in preschool, do your research.Talk to teachers, principal and friends who have experience with their children attending preschool. Learn about the goals of the preschool for your child’s age.
If your child is not yet ready to join a preschool, do not worry about it. Try to instil anticipation and enthusiasm instead of anxiety and distress. Build a positive environment at home where you talk to your kids about the fun they will have in preschool and new friends that they will make. Children feel secure when you introduce an idea to them before executing it.
Helping the child to become independent is another important step towards getting him ready for preschool. Encourage them to do small activities like brushing their hair or putting on their shorts. This gives them a sense of accomplishment and they feel comfortable moving on to the next level. After all, self-confidence is the best virtue that can ease your child’s journey through all his schooling years.
Learning in the lap of nature at TCH U-Thant
The children’s house is proud to present its brand-new preschool in the heart of Kuala Lumpur – TCH U-Thant – a beautiful building nestled among tall green trees. Indeed, nature is at the very core of the preschool. This comes from the fact that there is a deep connection between children and nature. With curiosity and imagination, the outdoors become a big unexplored playground.
Remember the time you took your children outdoors to play in the lap of nature, how much they enjoyed jumping in puddles, building leaf mountains, playing at the beach and climbing trees? Pebbles, seashells, grass, rocks, the rain, plants, trees, and sand — none of these came with a guide so our imagination took hold and we were liberated into many, many worlds.
The rustling of the leaves stimulates the sense of hearing and the fragrance of a flower stimulates the sense of smell; nature stimulates creative instincts and sensory development of the child. Hence, you cannot ignore the importance of nature play in the all-round development of your child.
Sensorial play vital
However, today most children are bound by tight schedules and extracurricular activities. Their first interaction is often with the TV, a tablet or computer. Interacting with nature is restricted to occasional visits to the playground or animated movies about nature. Sadly, they are isolated from the beautiful experiences of nature and develop distaste or fear of heat, cold, rain, and other natural things. This is the beginning of many modern day problems in children like rising cases of obesity, poor eyesight due to continuous exposure to artificial light of screens, plus the loss of opportunity to build resistance and immunity.
Learning through nature is not an occasional tour of man-made parks, but a part of the every day life where they are given the opportunity to grow in a secure and loving, carefully prepared environment that gives them the freedom to learn by choosing their own materials.
At The children’s house U-Thant, the Montessori Method recognises the significance of nature or play-based learning in the early years. Every activity is carefully designed to encourage the social, cognitive, emotional and physical abilities of the child. Most of all, it triggers the sense of curiosity and creativity in children, which helps them develop problem-solving skills required to be successful. Dr Maria Montessori wrote about it in the The Absorbent Mind: “Only through freedom and environmental experience is it practically possible for human development to occur.”
U-Thant maximises nature play
The Montessori Method believes that every child is born a sensorial explorer, and that’s why The children’s house U-Thant not only incorporates the elements of indoor learning but also provides the best environment for outdoor learning for the little ones. The spacious compound of U-Thant coupled with the exclusive facilities creates a huge outdoor space that is filled with the latest and ‘funnest’ playground equipment that will create a constant opportunity for adventure, not to mention learning.
Then there is the Alfresco Dining Area! Yes, you read that right, the children will get to dine in the cool air and enjoy the freshness of the surroundings under the shade of the surrounding trees.
One of the key features of The children’s house U-Thant is The Atelier Tree. The Atelier Tree is this massive tree with an atelier built around it. Children can enjoy nature while they get busy with their art and craft projects. It is a beautiful space where even the adults will feel inspired to show their gifted side as they work surrounded by full glass windows and roof. This ensures that everyone working in the atelier gets sufficient sunlight and can enjoy the outdoors to get inspiration for creating artwork. All the original work will then be displayed in the Children’s Art Gallery. The gallery will display the children’s masterpieces in an effort to not only appreciate but also encourage creativity in the children.
The children will no doubt enjoy another key feature of the school – the Wet & Wonderful water play! We all know that children love to play with water and the water play area at U-Thant gives children the opportunity to get imaginative with water! Your child is going to wake-up every morning raring to go to preschool!
Come on over for a tour of The children’s house at U-Thant. You will find the environment at U-Thant is specially prepared to let your child move freely and interact with nature. As children interact with the environment and learn to take care of their surroundings, a sense of responsibility and kindness develops. Eventually, children learn to identify their emotions, express them, and respond effectively. They develop great self-esteem and it drives them to follow their passion and be the best version of themselves. And isn’t that what each of us want for our children?