By about age 10, children’s creativity tends to fall off as they move increasingly toward conformity to achieve peer acceptance and to realize school success measured largely by testing and grading of projects and papers based upon adult standards. This trend was first documented over 40 years ago by educational psychologist E. Paul Torrance, who launched longitudinal studies to investigate why all children are creative but most adults are not. Regarded by many as the ‘father of creativity,’ Torrance also identified the ‘fourth-grade slump’ as the period during which children face a decline in their creativity, which can continue through adulthood. “Can” is the operative word, though, and so losing touch with creativity does not necessarily have to continue through maturation.
What have we learned over four decades about how can we help children reconnect with their imaginations? Art is the native language of children. Continued experiences with art can help children become more creative, expressive and self-confident. Older elementary children should be in visual arts programs that emphasize process over product, meaning that they learn more by experimenting than by trying to create an image to a specific standard. There should be no right or wrong in art class. Creativity as expressed through art helps children gain important problem solving skills – how to blend colors, perceive patterns and possibilities, adapt to challenges and so much more! Collaboration is also an important component for creative thinking and doing, and an art program that fosters this type of interaction can yield wonderful results.
Abrakadoodle offers art classes, camps, workshops, special events and birthday parties that children, parents and host sites love! Find an Abrakadoodle location near you.