Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why is Creativity A Kids' Key to Success?

Creativity and empathy: the missing links

Do you realize the Arts are our earliest form of language? Art and music are the common denominator across all languages, cultures, and history. It is one of the most powerful tools for the expression of self.

We all have a special song or a picture we like, it may remind us of a special moment, an important date, or represent a strong belief. This emotion often affects us to our core.

The arts nurture and expand our ability to create and understand the world around us. Research shows children who are exposed to the arts acquire a greater ability to create flexible and more complex solutions to problems, a greater ability to articulate his/her thoughts, and ultimately discover a greater sense of self.

These are crucial elements in becoming socially responsible, stimulated and contented, and to develop a love for learning.

Neurologists have discovered that creativity is as natural to us as breathing is. We are predisposed at conception to create and develop language. We all know that when we don’t use something, like a house without a family to occupy it, or a muscles we don’t use, that gift fatigues, sags, and will eventually be lost.

Infants and most importantly fetuses are known to respond to sound, music, and emotions. It is now known, infants respond to colors and shapes, and reciprocate and mimic sounds. Even though children’s creativity thrive between infancy and their primary school years, research shows children’s creativity levels drop by the time they reach 9 – 10 years.

During their pre-teen years children begin to loose enthusiasm and curiosity for learning, become more compliant with rules, are less likely to try new things, unlike in their earlier years of development. Sadly, for most, creative skills become further suppressed and often fade during adult years.

So the question then is, “How do we foster continued growth in creativity?” What can we do as parents/educators/society to cultivate solutions to our problems and develop more environmentally aware and empathetic human beings?

In order for humanity to evolve into a higher level of functioning/creativity, our level of empathy must increase. Empathy is the key to greater understanding, interdependence, and ultimately cooperative relationships.

I believe the fastest and most effective ways for students to learn empathy is through creative interpretation, such as those expressed in the arts. If we want our children to become more fully integrated, effective, and enlightened individuals we must support greater education, participation, and place value on the arts.

Our society and future depends on it.

Deikman, A. J. (2000). Service as a way of knowing.
In T. Hart, P. Nelson, & K. Puhakka (Eds.),
Transpersonal knowing: Exploring the horizon of
consciousness (pp. 303–318). Albany: State
University of New York Press.

Murphy, B. C., & Dillon, C. (1998). Interviewing in
action: Process and practice. Pacific Grove, CA:

Rogers, C. R. (1980). A way of being. New York:
Houghton Mifflin.

Hart, T. (2000). Deep empathy. In T. Hart, P. Nelson, &
K. Puhakka (Eds.), Transpersonal knowing:
Exploring the horizon of consciousness (pp. 253–
270). Albany: State University of New York Press

Ellis Paul Torrance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Scholastic Testing Service, Inc.. Millar, G.W. (1995). E. Paul Torrance, "The Creativity Man" : an Authorized Biography ... –

Mark A. Runco
Creativity , Mark A. Runco, Annual Review of Psychology; Volume 55, Page. ... In Mark A. Runco, & Steven R. Protzler (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity. ...

Interview with David Bohm - F. David Peat • Physics
David Bohm discusses his notions of wholeness as exhibited in the quantum theory . He explains his own idea of the implicate order and a holomovement that ...

** for more information about an incredible arts program in Victor, NY please visit Lyric Academy Of Music

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Play: A Key To Kids' Success

Do you know why playing games with our kids is so important?

I am sure some of you will say, "Because they are fun and can be educational." You would be right. However, I want to share with you more details:

Games are fun and therefore motivating. Children often they forget they are learning and practicing things like math, reading, and science.

Games show how we use math is real life. Solving mathmatics problems and solutions are needed to play the games and parallels real life situations.

Games can enhance the understanding of mathmatic relationships. Often several skills are combined in games.

Some games inspire children to create their own games or variations fostering advanced logical reasoning.

Children love to play games, therefore they are more likely to take risks to practice, succeed, and learn from "mistakes made".

Games help children to accept that there are more than one answer and more than one method to solve problems.

Games help children to communicate mathmatically, in logical sequencing. Games require students to justify their thinking and rationalize their decisions.

Games help children learn sequential skills, by going around a board, moving back and forth, taking turns or even more advanced strategic planning.

Games help children to learn social - survival skills. Participants must play by the rules, learn to be a good winner and loser, take chances, make decisions, and cooperate with others.

Some games help children learn and understand Maslow's hierarchy of needs. What is needed before being able to move to the next point.

Playing games with adults is importantbecause it helps a child understand humanity and what really make an individual special. A child realizes adults are not perfect and have to work by using a persons strengths and being willing to identify and use their weaknesses as well.

Playing games is like a micro - representation of living life. Observing and playing games that encourage making mistakes, causing errors, and having doubt are really very good things!

Thomas Edison said he learn 1000 ways not to make a light bulb before he got it right. I am sure glad he kept going after 100th time!!

** Thank you Robin Follmer for your help with this blog!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Zone of Proximinal Development is a Key to a Kids's Success

Have you ever heard of "Zone of Proximal Development"?

I hadn't until I was talking with my daughter's teacher, however, I realized I had been doing it.

It is actually really cool because you can do more of it when you are aware f it.

The term "zone of proximal development" was created by a Russian child psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Is the range, or zone when a child is almost ready or just before the "light bulb is turned on". Therefore, a little adult or mentor-ship is needed for the child to be successful.

This is the exact way to identify a child's instructional level. Is your child's classroom set up to meet your child's needs and the different needs of other children?

Probably before you are able to answer that question you may need more information about how "proximal development" works.

An example of one child's zone of proximal development:

When my daughter is practicing her violin and is having difficulty learning a new part of her music piece. I give her time to practice with "trial and error". Then, if she is still having difficulty remembering the next note I may hum the tune. Usually, she will hear the note and and then coordinate what she heard with the note on her violin.

I supported her interest and helped her to build her ability.

Here are some keys to working within your child's zone of Proximal development...

1. Let your child get slightly uncomfortable with their practice.

2. Follow your child's interest. (I believe children are naturally curious. When given opportunities and resources for learning children are automatically drawn to learn).

3. Limit the steps your child needs to be successful achieving his/her goal or completion of a task.

4. When your child does get frustrated (frustration is often the result of anxiety because he/she doesn't know what to do next), you can...

a. give your child a moment to emotionally collect him/her self before moving on but, ...

b. encourage him/her to stick with the task

c. demonstrate what next to do

d. share with your child a similar situation or event to make a connection to something your child has mastered or knows how to do.

I hope this helps you to enjoy more fully the time you spend with your child and share in the curiosity and joy of learning!

** A summary of ideas from Einstein Never Used Flash Cards by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff