Inclusive Nursery Environments
Why We Should Encourage Expression and Creativity
Creativity is a form of expression and, above all, a state of mind. It’s a demonstration of our intelligence and a way of understanding the world around us. Fostering creativity in children is a way of preparing them to adapt, to invent different solutions, to tackle simple or even complex situations, to solve problems, to negotiate and to explore.
Creativity can be expressed through art, music, science, cuisine and/or sports. By encouraging children in their creative development we open the doors to the world of imagination, giving them freedom in all areas of this domain. It is important to be present with children while at the same time un-intrusive. Dr Winnicott, who has studied extensively children’s behaviour and their interactions with parents, notes that you shouldn’t intrude into children’s lives excessively as they can feel the intrusion and as a result will lack confidence in themselves. They will develop the impression that they do not know how to do things alone.
At the same time, we must not distance ourselves from our children. Distance can cause the child to feel insignificant and unhappy. It is essential that adults encourage children’s desires and interests without influencing them, offering them activities that will motivate them. Creativity comes as a result of effort and work. Therefore it cannot exist without passion or motivation.
There is no limit to materials available to foster creativity: paper, cardboard, wood, cloth, earth, water, sand. Additionally, there are musical instruments, books or even Kamishibaïs, a Japanese tradition of story telling in which children can add elements within the plot at their desire. Further means to express creativity and games including mime and dance, which promote expression through movement.
A sense of freedom is fundamental in order to create. Ultimately, expression and creativity promotes recognition of the fact, among both adults and children, that every child is unique.
Practising music with different children is a wonderful experience that is full of surprises. Hearing a child that is unable to speak singing a song spot on and watching a child unable to master his movements demonstrate rhythms are just two examples of the extraordinary effects music can have on children. Music allows a form of communication that goes beyond words and goes beyond disabilities. – Joan Koenig Principal of Koenig School in Paris
You don’t have to be a specialist to teach early years music, find out how here: You Don’t Have to be a Specialist to Teach Early Years Music
Artistic activities to encourage creativity
For children with disorders that affect their coordination, it can be difficult to express their creativity freely when their gesture is hampered by their inability to handle tools. Thanks to ergonomic brushes, these children can use their equivalent of palmar grip. Although palmar grip can seem quite a basic exercise, it utilises all of the fingers and the palm of the hand. Children who have difficulty using finer tools can hold the ergonomic brushes by the end, grasping it with their full hand. This is more inclusive, involving the whole limb so children can explore art on a larger scale. – Emanuelle Langlois, Practitioner of Psychomotricity