GǣCreative learning in the early years is not just child's playGǪGǥ

GǣCreative learning in the early years is not just child's playGǪGǥ (PDF)

2022 • 132 Pages • 331.45 KB • English
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Summary of GǣCreative learning in the early years is not just child's playGǪGǥ

“Creative learning in the early years is not just child’s play…” BORN CREATIVE Edited by Charlie Tims Supporters of creative learning argue that it is both more in tune with how children naturally learn and is better preparation for the modern economy. The previous Government emphasised the importance of creativity for good teaching and learning, particularly in the early years. This resulted in the creation of the Early Years Foundation Stage in 2008, which bought a new statutory emphasis to children’s creative experiences. The reining in of public finances, combined with skepticism towards the role of government, is bringing these methods into question. Can training really make Early Years Professionals more creative? Does the curriculum foster creativity? How amenable should public spaces be to very young children? The Early Years Foundation Stage is currently under review, arts funding in education is to be cut and schools are facing the greatest shake-up in a generation. In times of uncertainty there is a pressing need for stories and ideas that can point a way forward for creativity in the early years: whether they are taken forward in the public sector or by other parties. By bringing together experiences of creative practices in early years education this collection shows the importance of cultures, environments and networks to the enrichment of early years learning and interrogates the role of leaders, policy and parents in creating them. Charlie Tims is an associate of Demos. Born Creative | Edited by Charlie Tims | COLLECTION 29 ISBN 978-1-906693-54-1 £10 © Demos 2010 COLLECTION 29 Born Creative cover 10/22/10 12:50 PM Page 1 This pamphlet was supported by: Contributors: Dea Birkett Shirley Brice Heath Ruth Churchill Dower Anna Craft Bernadette Duffy Penny Egan Wendy Ellyatt Tim Gill Geethika Jayatilaka David Lammy MP Tim Loughton MP Michael Rosen Sarah Teather MP Esme Ward Born Creative cover 10/21/10 4:16 PM Page 2 Demos is an independent think-tank focused on power and politics. We develop and spread ideas to give people more power over their own lives. Our vision is of a democracy of powerful citizens, with an equal stake in society. Demos has several core research programmes in 2010: Capabilities, Citizenship, Security, Economic Life, Progressive Austerity and Extremism. We also have two political research programmes: the Progressive Conservatism Project and Open Left, investigating the future of the centre-Right and centre-Left. In all our work we bring together people from a wide range of backgrounds to develop ideas that will shape debate in the UK and beyond, and engage a broad and diverse audience worldwide. Find out more about our work at www.demos.co.uk. First published in 2010 © Demos. Some rights reserved Magdalen House, 136 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TU, UK ISBN 978 1 906693 54 1 Series design by modernactivity Typeset by Chat Noir Design, Charente Printed by Lecturis, Eindhoven Set in Gotham Rounded and Baskerville 10 Cover paper: Flora Gardenia Text paper: Munken Premium White BORN CREATIVE Edited by Charlie Tims Open access. Some rights reserved. As the publisher of this work, Demos wants to encourage the circulation of our work as widely as possible while retaining the copyright. We therefore have an open access policy which enables anyone to access our content online without charge. Anyone can download, save, perform or distribute this work in any format, including translation, without written permission. This is subject to the terms of the Demos licence found at the back of this publication. Its main conditions are: · Demos and the author(s) are credited · This summary and the address www.demos.co.uk are displayed · The text is not altered and is used in full · The work is not resold · A copy of the work or link to its use online is sent to Demos You are welcome to ask for permission to use this work for purposes other than those covered by the licence. Demos gratefully acknowledges the work of Creative Commons in inspiring our approach to copyright. To find out more go to www.creativecommons.org Contents Acknowledgements 7 Foreword 9 Introduction 13 1 Using creativity and creative learning to enrich the lives of young children at the Thomas Coram Centre 19 Bernadette Duffy 2 Deconstruction or reconstruction? New directions in policies for creativity in the early years 29 Anna Craft 3 Creating the conditions: trusted professional and targeted resources for creativity in the early years 47 Tim Loughton MP and Sarah Teather MP 4 New spaces for watchful creatures: family learning at the Whitworth Art Gallery 53 Esme Ward 5 Keeping it real: why and how educators should be expanding children’s horizons 63 Tim Gill 6 Creative futures: a ‘new deal’ for the early years sector 71 Geethika Jayatilaka 7 Permission to play: how museums can leave room for creative learning in the early years 83 Dea Birkett 8 A science of learning: new approaches to thinking about creativity in the early years 89 Wendy Ellyatt 9 Social franchising: a networked approach to nurturing early years creatives 99 Ruth Churchill Dower 10 Seeing with new eyes: new ways forward for creativity and culture in education 109 David Lammy MP 11 Play in nature: the foundation of creative thinking 115 Shirley Brice Heath Contents Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Creativity, Culture and Education for funding this project and in particular Kelly O’Sullivan and Geethika Jayatilaka for their continual support, and Geethika also for her essay in this volume. We are tremendously grateful to all the contributors, many of whom responded at short notice – Anna Craft, Bernadette Duffy, David Lammy, Dea Birkett, Esme Ward, Ruth Churchill Dower, Sarah Teather, Shirley Brice Heath, Tim Gill, Tim Loughton and Wendy Ellyatt. We would also like to thank Penny Egan for her introduction and Michael Rosen for his foreword. Many people made helpful suggestions and provided contacts without which this collection would not have been possible; Shelagh Wright, Ruth Churchill Dower, Morgan Leichter-Saxby, Alice Tims and everyone at A New Direction and Nursery World were of great help. At Demos, Celia Hannon initiated the project and Charlie Tims managed the collection of the contributions. Julia Margo, Jen Lexmond, Beatrice Karol Burks and Claire Coulier offered comments on drafts and expertly shepherded the collection through its production and launch. 7 Foreword 9 In a way, it is strange to be talking about creativity. Why should we be in a position of having to justify something that is at the heart of human thought, activity, endeavour and emotion? The explanation can be found in the documents and rationales that have bombarded teachers over the last 20 years. This was the ‘instruction model’ of teaching, caricatured (pleasingly, I’ve always thought) by the description ‘the jug and mug theory of education’: the child is the empty mug, the teacher is the full jug, the jug is tipped into the empty mug – hey presto, education has happened. Though there is a huge body of theory and practice to show that by and large we don’t learn and arrive at making meaning and understanding in this way (particularly when we’re young), in the last 20 years there has been a persistent use of jug and mug. This was typified by imposing sequences and ‘units of learning’ along the lines of factory production – each child was seen as a thing to which a new chunk of taught material could be added, assessed and left behind. There is of course another model of learning, which suggests that we are all – from the moment we’re born – reflective, interacting beings make meaning. If you watch a very young child holding and using a ball, you get a good picture: there is a flow to and fro between what the child is perceiving through sight, touch and sound (assuming these are each functioning) with what the child is thinking, with what the child is saying and with what other people are saying or have said. The child doesn’t learn how to handle a ball along one route of thought (eg from sight to brain to hand-movement). It involves all these processes interacting; so, yes, it involves responding to the stimuli but it also involves responding to one’s own response. This is what we do all the time: think and reflect and learn from how we behaved and thought previously. All this means that learning is complex. It isn’t a piece of one-dimensional travel along one axis. We make advances and retreats. The retreats may well be in the long run advances; some advances may be cul-de-sacs. These free-flowing processes can be inhibited in many ways, one of which comes from giving people a fear of failure. If you are afraid to travel about in the multi- dimensions of learning, you will be prevented from getting to the next step. Where does creativity fit in here? In order to learn we need to be in a position in which we are open to receiving ideas, processes, sensations and feelings – the gamut of human experience; we need to have been allowed to respond to these experiences in ways that aren’t inhibited through being told that this or that response is wrong or insufficient; we need to know that the response can come through thought, talk, action, activity, solo or collective; we need to have time and space to reflect on our responses – at least some of the time in cooperation with others. In these circumstances we will be creative in thought and action. We will advance in whichever field of human activity we can think of. Far from being woolly or non-rigorous, this kind of creativity requires a good deal of organisation on the part of a leader, a teacher, a chairperson or whoever. It also requires sensitivity to difference, a strong sense of democracy – everyone has to be given their fair share of time, and attention from everyone else. The lines of communication between the group should not just pass between the leader and individuals in the group – there need to be as many lines sideways between the participants. There also needs to be a sense that there are many ways of getting things ‘right’, rather than a simple binary of ‘right or wrong’; people will benefit from an awareness that they have caused pleasure in others through what they have said, made or thought. Where appropriate there is ‘outcome’ – things or ideas or statements, or movements or sounds (or whatever) are produced and presented to others. Creativity also requires time for people to reflect on that ‘production’ or process. None of this is a luxury. It is essential for the advance of humankind. We are beset with massive problems concerning at Foreword the very least questions of climate, poverty, disease and war. We will never escape from this cycle through top-down instruction. Of course, it is possible to be creative about destruction – the twentieth century was particularly clever in this respect. In other words, creativity for the benefit of the human race has to be inclusive and cooperative. Whenever I work with people – no matter what their age – I try to run a checklist through my mind: are these people investigating, discovering, inventing and cooperating? They don’t have to be doing all four all the time, but is this event, this process, this ‘workshop’ involving at least one of these? In an ideal moment, it’ll be all four. What can I do to increase the amount of whichever one of the four is not happening here? In my experience, things start to happen when all four take place in a group of people. Michael Rosen October 2010 11 Introduction Penny Egan 13 The single most important factor determining Britain’s long-term growth is the education that the next generation receives. Tom Leunig1 Over ten years ago, as Programme Development Director at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), I was responsible for a number of projects looking at the arts and creativity in schools. Many of the themes in this collection of essays are familiar ones – school structure and purpose, creativity as nature or nurture, the roles of parents and teachers – but they are set in the new context of diminishing financial resources and shrinking central control. The last government took on board much of what research from the 1990s was revealing and invested heavily in early years and creativity including Sure Start, Creative Partnerships and Find Your Talent. The last administration also put in place the Early Years Foundation Stage in 2008, the review of which frames the discussion for these essays. Where creativity goes next – how we build on, rather than lose the gains that have been made – is the challenge for the writers of this collection. From my RSA days, my thinking was informed by a number of projects and initiatives. The HighScope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (2005) was particularly influential.2 This study examined the lives of 123 African Americans born in poverty and at high risk of failing in school. From 1962 to 1967, at ages 3 and 4, the subjects were randomly divided into a programme group that received a high- quality preschool programme based on HighScope’s participatory learning approach and a comparison group of children who received no preschool programme. In the study’s most recent phase, 97 per cent of the study participants still