Do Educational Toys Promote Early Childhood Development? (Developing Creativity, Part V)

Every child has within themselves the ability to be creative. It is important that parents recognize the value of their child’s creativity and pursue avenues as well as make every effort in helping their child to develop in this area of their lives. Creativity can be defined many ways but is basically the development of unique and special abilities and talents in your child. However, creativity goes beyond the mechanics of developing a skill in a particular area such as music, the arts and writing. It also involves the release of one’s individuality, uniqueness, diversity and personalization of ideas and thoughts which makes it their own.  

Creativity is essential as it provides a means for children to develop ideas and solutions for problem solving. When problems occur they do not always have an easy answer meaning that a solution may work at one particular time and although the circumstances may seem the same a new solution must be applied. Problem solving involves a creativeness that is flexible with the ability to adapt and apply thoughts and ideas resulting in a successful outcome. So when it comes to problem solving, children need to be challenged to make observations from various perspectives and to apply an array of solutions that they have developed through creative thinking.

Some of the ways that parents can help their children express themselves and solve problems through creative thinking are…

  • Be a role Model; show them first hand
  • Provide situations that provoke multiple choices, ideas and answers
  • Encourage your child to explore other possibilities
  • Allow flexibility rather than structure (what everyone else thinks)
  • Accept unusual ideas and their possibilities
  • Recognize and help them to express their individuality
  • Provide imaginative play
  • Allow and encourage spontaneity
  • Build their self-confidence through positive affirmation  
  • Show your support in their efforts
  • Unless asked, let them accomplish tasks without your help
  • Ask questions that challenge alternative answers
  • Encourage, encourage, encourage

Playing is important and the most natural way for children to learn and grow. Researchers have suggested that creative adults were most likely involved in imaginative play as children. Educational toys are an invitation to fun creative learning. They are an avenue to stimulate imagination as well as providing situations requiring problem solving. They open the door of socialization with other children which provides opportunities of how others think and feel. They provide a means of developing self-confidence as your child masters various ways to accomplish tasks which also builds their self-esteem. They are also useful in helping children discover various emotions as their self-expression bubbles forth.    

Creativity plays an important role in the future success and productivity of your child. Self-expression, problem solving, decision making, expressing ideas and experiencing an unlimited flow of endless opportunities and possibilities are all developed through creativeness. Although we may take for granted such things as an automobile, a telephone, lighting and computers, it was the creative expression of ordinary people who broke the mold of popular thinking an achieved what most thought the impossible. But isn’t that the desire of all parents, that their children become more successful and productive than themselves? So parents help your child’s creative juices flow.

Art Should Be Included in Children’s Education

Scientific experimental skills, arithmetic and mathematical skills are commonly accepted to be the most important skills in building a child towards a bright and successful future whereas artistic studies are frequently classified as a mere interest or non main stream children education everywhere. However, it is a terrible mistake to judge the significance of art studies as above because art studies are actually very important in the growth and development of a child towards a better life and future.

First of all, artistic studies promote the attitude of expressing ideas and emotion effectively. Through art lessons, children learn to use a mystical combination of colours, shapes and geometries to illustrate and express certain emotions and ideas through painting or art works rather than resolving to violence and gore in expressing themselves. In other context, art education is also able to educate the children to express in a proper and responsible manner and also contributes to the betterment and peace of the society.

Besides that, art education also helps children to learn to be creative. During the art lessons, children will be given various subjects of art and illustration ranging from social issues, technology to the rich Mother Nature and biodiversity of the world. Instead of following a certain examples or samples and art works, children are strongly encouraged to explore the subjects creatively, conceiving unique and extraordinary ideas of art works. As a result, this art learning process will gradually develop and unleash the creative potential of the children and in fact, learning of mathematics and scientific subjects are more efficient if a child is able to think out of the box during the learning of facts and formulae.

Moreover, art education is able to address children towards the various social issues and happenings around them. For example, through art practice and experiments, children will be exposed to various issues such as environmental protection, wildlife conservation, family violence and many more issues. Consequently, children will have a higher social responsibility and will be more willing to contribute to the communal welfare of the society. In fact, this might be just the right solution towards the problems whereby teenagers are getting more withdrawn from the society and the public.

Last but not least, art education is able to strengthen the cultural understanding of the young generation. Through the learning of art, children are exposed to the vibrant culture of the world rather than only understanding the culture of own race or nation. As a result, this will cause the children to appreciate and respect the foreign culture which pave the foundation for a better cross-border communication and consolidate the human relationship around the world.

In conclusion, the role of art education in children’s life is undeniable anymore by any means. Therefore, it is vital for all the educational boards or directors to incorporate art lessons in children’s daily education to ensure to future generation will be more versatile and competitive.

Consequences – When Education Is Biased

Although a noble concept education does not serve all the purposes it was meant to serve. The issue at hand, the fact that education tends to reaffirm existing inequalities, is not easy to explain since the ideal behind education in everyone’s mind is the exact opposite. We tend to think that since almost everyone in the western world has access to all levels of education and thus a chance to improve him/herself that person can accomplish something better in life than he or she already has. But the facts show that we do not all have the same opportunities and in the long run the present system of education sustains the existing “order” of society.

One of the largest scaled researches on this issue was conducted for the US government in 1964 by a sociologist named James Coleman. His research showed that academic achievement depends largely on the socioeconomic background of the students rather than school facilities or other factors as he originally expected. Rutter another sociologist who did research on this issue found that school conditions (student-teacher relationship, proper motivation, etc”) could actually improve the academic achievement of children who were of low social and economic background and were otherwise expected to perform poorly. But how can something like this be explained? Three theories seem to explain the reasons why adequately.

According to Basil Bernstein “children while growing up acquire a certain linguistic code depending on the social position of their family, something which later on affects their performance at school”. This difference in language does not concern vocabulary or other linguistic skills it is the difference in the use of language according to Bernstein that makes the difference. A child that grew up in a working class family is used to what is called a restricted code of language, a code that includes a lot of unstated assumptions which is more suited for everyday life rather than academic use. On the other hand a child that grew up in a middle or upper class family is accustomed to an elaborate code with which he/she is able to discuss and express more abstract ideas and is able to suit many kinds of social settings, especially that of the academic world. Such a difference is sure to influence a child’s educational chances.

There are probably many other reasons that explain why education expresses and reaffirms existing inequalities, reasons that have to do with the race, gender or ethnic and religious background of students in different countries. But there are also many things that can be done in order to improve the system and give equal chances to all for a better and more prosperous life. It depends on all of us to abolish inequalities but unfortunately history has shown that people fight for changes only when they have nothing to lose and those who design our lives have made us believe that we have lots to lose if we try to make any change.