August 1, 2022
Originality is a good thing!
Small children are naturally curious and willing to take risks to learn new things. They do things in original ways and often march to their own drums until rules or constraints are imposed on their work or behavior by parents and teachers. For me, it is a sad day when children start to ask of adults, “How am I supposed to color this?” or “What is the right way to solve this problem?” In my opinion, we should encourage children to be original… to try things their own way.
Children start to lose confidence in their own creative behaviors in the early elementary grades, and they start to conform to what their peers are doing or what they believe their teachers expect of them. Even though most people agree that creativity is important in solving problems, the creative behaviors of children are not always appreciated in the classroom and are not fully encouraged or developed in schools.
When my children were small, I was thrilled to play a role in identifying and nurturing their creativity in different ways. Although their father and I delighted in their creative behaviors at home, sometimes these same behaviors were not understood or appreciated at school. When my oldest son was identified as both “gifted” and “dyslexic,” I began to advocate for his special learning needs and for those of other children like him. Even children without formal labels, however, have unique learning needs. Every child possesses strengths and weaknesses, has unique interests, and deserves to have learning experiences tailored to meet his or her needs.