Unlocking children's creativity through Art

May 2012
Painting, drawing and design could hold the key to increasing children's ability to think creatively, and pupils from St Francis Primary school in Falmouth certainly showed that they had artistic flair by becoming one of four finalists of the Building Future Education - Refurb or Rebuild LIVE! Competition.

The contest required the Year 6 children to develop creative and cost-effective solutions for building design. Teacher Nicky Sutton argued that expressive arts have 'immense benefits for children's self-esteem'.

Art has long been used as a tool to stimulate creativity, and early years professionals are set to benefit from a government strategy which forms partnerships with artists and other creative early years professionals.

Commenting on the scheme, Earlyarts director Ruth Churchill Dower said: 'We know that creative environments can often be the key to unlocking children's potential, and it's the same for the adults who care for young children.'The initiative will also allow early years managers to promote the arts and invest in high-quality art equipment and creative materials.

Here are just a few ways that art can be used to develop children's creativity:

Art and expression
As children create their own works of art they will be able to increase their ability to express their ideas. They may then use the visual images that they create, such as story map created with pictures, to help support their written work.

Design and reflective thinking
When children are given briefs in technology lessons they are required to think about solutions to common design problems. As an example, children may have to design a shelter that is waterproof using a limited amount of materials, and utilise their creative thinking to ensure that their objectives are met.

Analysing art work can develop higher order thinking
Questions outlined in Bloom's Taxonomy are regular used by teachers to develop more complex thinking in children. 'Creating' is at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy pyramid, and the following questions can be used to address each area of thinking and help children creatively critique art work:

  • Evaluation: What is your opinion of the painting? Why?

  • Synthesis: What ways would you render the subject differently?

  • Analysis: Explain what you think the artist is trying to say about the subject matter

  • Application: If you could interview the artist, what questions would you ask?