Creativity may seem important only for people who are involved in the artistic trade. Yet more and more in our society we see the real value of it. There have been links between creativity and problem-solving abilities (Moyles, 1999), and increasing the ability to “think outside of the box”. If this is true then creativity is therefore significant if we are to encourage and help children be an independent and productive citizen of society.
“Creativity is basically an attitude, one that come easily to young, but must be sustained and strengthened lest it be sacrificed in our too logical world”
-(Marzollo and Lloyd, 1972)
We can therefore conclude that creativity is important. It is interspersed with the arts, and can be said to be innate in children, so how then do Montessori schools support creativity in young children? Creativity for Dr Montessori was vital, since she realizes that it is part of helping children discover and create themselves, since it is a means of self-expression. As a child grows up in this world, self- exploration/discovery is important in forming their being. According to Dr Montessori it involves answering these three questions:
- What is out there?
- What might I do with what is there?
- How can I carry out my abstract ideas?
The second idea realizes the formation of abstract thought and imagination that would allow us to create from what is seen in our own environment. The third idea being the most vital can be essentially carried out through communication. Communication is not only achieved by written and spoken language but in art as well as an integral part of symbolic language (Lillard and Jessen, 2003). Montessori philosophy mainly supports the idea of independence, “I can do it for myself, I can think for myself. I can create.” This is achieved in Montessori environments by allowing or providing the child with art materials that are appropriate for them. Materials that do not frustrate them by being too difficult for them to use, but materials that they can confidently use themselves.
This is especially applicable for young children who are still developing their manipulative skills. For two- year old’s, they are developing the use of their pincer grip which will allow them to use crayons. For two and half year old’s with a more developed pincer grip, they can be given a coloured pencil and a small piece of paper for drawing. Coloured pencils are recommended since it allows for the freedom of expression, as well as permitting the child to learn about hand control by applying different pressures. This results in darker and lighter colours, allowing the child to further develop fine motor skills. These pencils are also thin enough for a child’s hand to grasp. Other similar objects that a child may be given are chalk, paint cutting activities, clay, pasting and the similar. Montessori also discourages ready-made craft kits since the goal of such activities are more oriented to the end product, rather than the process itself.
The children are also encouraged to use recyclable materials for art. These can be scraps of paper, mixed materials, threads, wiring, textile, or other various materials that can be found around the house. These materials can encourage creativity more than store bought crafts, as it challenges the child on how the different materials may be used depending on their imagination and creativity. When a child is encouraged in the creative process, this can also help increase their concentration and allows them to lose themselves in their work as they engage themselves in the process completely.