Reflecting on the Role of Play in Early Childhood, Fostering Creativity in Ourselves and Children

Why is it important to understand the role of creativity and play in early childhood education? In reading excepts from the work of Project Zero and Reggio Children, I was struck again by the importance of connecting art and science together.

The inter twine of play and creativity.

Creativity and play cannot be separated.

Play and creativity are a biological function.

Creativity and play are action oriented.

Creativity and play involve emotions.

Creativity and play build resiliency.

The theme of creativity and play cannot be separated demonstrates the importance of integration of arts and science. We should embrace the concepts of scaffolding our own creativity in the classroom to support children’s engagement in creative thinking. Through the reflective process that is fundamental to critical thinking in creative actions, we are able to provide as the sweet spot between not challenging and too challenging that results in optimal engagement and theory building.

At the end of this journey what have you discovered and how has that changed your thinking?

Erik Erikson states, “The creation of self is the most creative act”. If we are to see ourselves as a constructivist educator in early childhood settings, then we must engage in the process of thinking about who we are when we engage young children.  Constant reflection is sometimes hard and frustrating work. To pull apart and put back together the intentionality of inviting children into learning, rather than teaching knowledge means we must break the boundaries of traditional education models.

To stand firm in our belief that children are infinitely capable and their theories contribute everyday to the foundation of our society we must demonstrate a vigilance to protect the creative process of learning. Taking this stance means that we must grapple with our sense of self in our work, and not let traditional thinking hold sway in who we will be. We must arm ourselves with the knowledge and skills to make visible and valued children as capable, confident learners. 

As an educator some of the most rewarding work we can practice, is to protect creative spaces for children, to build theory, and to share the gift of thinking creatively with them.

How do you engage in reflective thinking?