Using Theory-Based Research in Supporting Creative Learning Environment for Young Children

Using Theory-Based Research in Supporting Creative Learning Environment for Young Children

Amanda J. Muhammad (Bowling Green State University, USA), Gloysis Mayers (Zayed University, UAE) and Deborah G. Wooldridge (Bowling Green State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9634-1.ch029
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A supportive creative environment for young children is viewed as an essential element toward facilitating their creative thinking. Creativity requires imagination, insight, problem solving, divergent thinking, the ability to express emotions and to be able to make choices, thus we created a supportive learning environment to nurture creativity in three to four year olds. In this chapter creativity theory is discussed and how to apply to the early childhood educational setting. The Reggio Approach and creativity-provoking methods are discussed. Application of the theory relates to how children are immersed into activities encourages problem-solving, exploration, creativity and the learning supported by play based experiences for children. Examples are given as to how one child development center has provided curriculum, arranged the indoor and outdoor spaces, and integrated the artist in residence concept into the setting.
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Brief Overview Of Creativity Theory

Daily lives are ever evolving and becoming more complex. The complexity is evident not only in our cultural evolution but also in our biological evolution. To better function in an environment where complex change is the norm requires people to use and apply creative solutions to everyday problems. Creativity is necessary for understanding, problem solving, and developing flexibility in every life (Runco, 2004). Our contemporary society is the result of creative thinking not only in the artistic domain but also in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Weinstein, 2014). Children are of no exception to this need for the ability to respond creatively (Runco, 2004; Russ, 2004). In fact, creativity in youth is even more essential than ever before because the world that they will encounter as adults will present more variations in technological advancements, cultural diversions, social opportunities, and environmental changes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Third Teacher: The environment where the child is learning.

Deep-Learning: Learning in one area and then having the ability to apply the learning to solve-problems in another area.

Collaboration: Working together in the classroom to do a task or achieve a goal.

Creativity: The ability to generate ideas and possibilities which can be used in problem solving or communicating with others.

Creativity-Provoking Methods: Classroom pedagogy promoting creativity and thinking in the classroom setting such as play, questioning, teacher-child interaction, child-child interaction, exploration and the like.

Early Childhood: Time of development for children from birth until age eight.

Early Childhood Education: Educational programs and teaching strategies for children from birth to the age of eight.

Core Areas of Creativity Research: The four core areas are person, process, press and product.

Developmentally Appropriate Practices: Teacher approaches teaching by meeting young children where they are in the stage of development and helping all children meet learning goals.

Reggio Emilia Approach: An early childhood educational philosophy developed by Loris Malaguzzi in the area of Reggio Emilia, Italy. The objective is teaching through exploration and discovery in a classroom.

Social Spaces: Learning areas within the classroom designed to invite children’s exploratory investigation and creative processes.

Early Childhood Art Studio: A space created to inspire creativity in young children based on the art studio concept used by artists.

Play-Based Learning Experiences: Children pose problems, explore solutions, and develop understandings of real world concepts through play.

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