Teaching Creativity to Young Children
Why Early Learning is Important
Early learning sets a child for life. These are the years' that what they learn can become a habit if they learn it their way. Playing is the way that young children chose to learn, so why not use it to your advantage. ? How? With intentional teaching techniques.
What is intentional teaching? It is simply setting up the environment where children can practice what they have learned without adult interruptions. I will show you how to use three activities and how to set up your classroom for them to practice them. This is easier than you think. I have used these methods over and over in my classrooms through the years and the result as always been the same. Children learn from it and use it not only in the classroom but at home to. Many parents have approached me, wondering how I did it.
The first thing you as a teacher must be willing to do is to keep notes.
The following activities will encourage children to use what they remember and will show you what they don't. Each of the activities will be explained on how to do the activity and how to set up the environment for intentional learning.
Are you ready to try something new? Here we go.
What is dialogical reading? How can you use this in your classroom?
Dialogical reading is involving your students in the reading process. How?
Here is what you need to pull this off successfully. Pick a book that the children can relate to something in your room. I use Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Suess a lot. Open the book to any page, hold it where the children can see the picture.
Talk about what is going on in the picture. Then ask the children a question like, "Why doesn't he like Sam I Am?" This does work with two-year-olds.
I use this method every morning. See the picture above, this was taken in the afternoon, this child is doing exactly what I was doing. You will also see other children getting in small groups doing this.
Now for the tough part, you have to leave the books where they have access to them all day long. This will teach them to respect the books. It does work with lots of patience.
The first picture in this article is one example of a Creative Wall, and the one above is another. I use several throughout my room. Each is set up differently for the children to use by themselves.
You, as a teacher, must be willing to let the children help you put this on the wall and to leave it down low. This is the key to having a successful creative wall. Yes, there will be those that want to take it down, but the other children will tell them about it. Just help the child that tore it down, put it back up. Be patient, this is a new concept to these children.
Look at the pictures closely and see what ideas you can come up with that will help your children to continue to use what you have taught.
Now for the activity part of Creative Wall.
Putting up the Creative Wall
First, you must find different pictures and activities that you can hang on the wall.
Second, let the children name what they see in the picture, then you mention something they didn't.
Third, let a child hang it up where ever in the area you have picked out.
Fourth, do this with each child that is interested.
Fifth, after they are up, go over what each picture is, then start again and see who can name them.
Do not do the whole wall in one day, spread it out over a week. This keeps the children from losing interest and gives them a chance to get used to the idea.
What is Puppet Play?
You think of puppets as something that goes on your hand. I think a puppet as anything in the classroom that the children will have an interest in. This section will show you how to use anything in your classroom as a puppet.
The above picture is an owl backpack. I stuffed it, and make believe it can talk. The children love it. It shows them how to communicate through puppet play.
How do you do this? What if a child doesn't speak?
First I will address that this activity is for all children. A child doesn't have to speak to use this method. It will help them learn the words they need to communicate and build a bond with you for showing them.
As crazy as this sounds, very young children love this activity. It gives them a chance to use their own imagination. Are you ready to see how it is done?
Great, here we go.
First, gather a handful of things from the classroom that you feel will be good to use as puppets.
Second, put them in the middle of your library area.
Third, sit down on the floor, not in a chair. This is very important. If your not willing or can't sit on the floor, this is not the activity for you.
Fourth, pick up one of the items and use it to talk to a child. Say, "Hello, What is your name? My name is.." Stuff like that is a good way to get started.
Fifth, The children will come to you. No need to holler for them to come join you.
Putting It All Together
Let's put this together.
Each day, add one of these activities to your daily routine. This will keep the children from being overwhelmed.
Each day write in your notebook, how the day went with this new addition to it. How the children responded to it and what you expect out of it.
At the end of the week, review your notes. You might spot something that needs changing.
Give each activity at least two weeks of using them before you decided it's not working. The children need to see that you will hang in there no matter what they do.
I have taught young children since 2000 and over the years I have used these methods. I review my notes often so that if something isn't helping a child, I might find what will help them. That is my ultimate goal, to help each child to be all they can be.
I'm looking forward to hearing how these turned out in your classrooms.
Keeping Track of What Works
First, you must be willing to give your whole heart for this method to work.
Second, find a notebook, or journal, or even a lesson planning book will work.
Third, write down the activities you want to try.
Fourth, write down what worked with the activity, what didn't work with the activity, what the children did later in the day with the activity.
This is very important in finding what will and will not work in your classroom. You may discover that what you are doing is actually working.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Joanna Blackburn