Play is an important part of a child’s learning as different characteristics of play are associated with each of the cognitive stages of development. The key role of play is for practising and assimilating new schemas, and that imitative play helps children accommodate new information that they learn off each other. Play is characterised by make-believe activity where children can take on roles and perform at higher levels of functioning not normally performed by them in their everyday life, for example pretending to be a school teacher. Encouraging children to participate in play-based activities is important as it allows for collaboration and cooperation between children, experimentation and risk-taking, as well as promoting creativity.
Creativity is the ability to produce work that is original and imaginative. At the Y we encourage creativity on a daily basis through activities such as art and craft, role-playing and pretend play. Encouraging children to be creative is simple, at the Y we provide opportunities for both planned and spontaneous craft projects and simple art experiences they can achieve on their own. By doing this we promote confidence and the ability to risk take and try new things and ideas. It is important to inspire children to try new and unique ways of doing things. When children stem off from art samples and templates by using their imagination it is extremely important to acknowledge their efforts and success. By doing this we build our children’s confidence in their own creative abilities. It is important that each child’s unique style should be valued and displayed for everyone to see. However the most important part of being creative is the enjoyment of the creative process. At the Y we emphasise the enjoyment part of the activity, as this is vastly more important than the aesthetic qualities of the creative piece.
Every child is a unique sea of creativity. It is important to nurture these seeds and foster their sprouting imaginations into positive, creative experiences.