- Identify ways to nurture creativity in your personal life.
- Reflect on what it means to be a creative infant and toddler caregiver.
- Brainstorm on how to creatively engage with infants, children, families and colleagues.
How do you nurture and sustain your own creativity? Are there rituals or activities you engage in that make you feel more connected to your creative self? Are there individuals who inspire you to be creative? What are some things that spark your creativity?
What about your professional life? What elements of your work environment make you feel creative? Is it the freedom to plan experiences and use materials? Is it supportive coworkers and supervisors? Is it guidance and constructive feedback from colleagues or supervisors? Is it sharing concerns and ideas, and brainstorming solutions when situations arise? Is it relationships with children and families?
Educational psychology professor James Kaufman has identified eight elements of the work environment that cultivate creativity. In the Explore section of this lesson, you will have an opportunity to reflect on these elements as they relate to your personal experiences in the infant and toddler early care and learning setting.
What Does it Mean To Be a Creative Infant and Toddler Caregiver?
What are some of your own views about being a creative infant and toddler caregiver? Pause for a few moments to think about this.
As you have been working through this course, you likely recognized that creativity is a crucial part of the human experience: It helps us rise to challenges, overcome obstacles, and create opportunities. Creativity is important because it demonstrates openness to new experiences. These experiences include having a good imagination, experiencing and valuing feelings, trying new things based on individual interests, and having a curious mindset (Kaufman, 2009, p.85).
In Lesson One, you had an opportunity to explore some of your own views on creativity. This final lesson will extend on this exploration by encouraging you to think about creativity in your workplace and ask yourself what it means to be a creative infant and toddler caregiver.
In your work with infants, toddlers and families, you are responsible for creating meaningful experiences that incorporate creativity throughout the day. Being a creative caregiver can be expressed in a number of different ways. Here are some to consider:
- Using everyday materials that might seem useless to spark creative work in your early care and learning setting
- Dealing with space constraints to create beautiful environments for you and the infants and toddlers in your classroom
- Following your curiosity
- Allowing yourself to make mistakes
- Trying new things out
- Accepting new or different perspectives
- Embracing diversity
Cultivating and Nurturing Creativity as an Infant and Toddler Caregiver
Creativity helps you become part of a workplace community that feels welcoming, energetic, and nurturing. It helps you engage infants, toddlers, families and colleagues in a range of meaningful experiences. Consider the following when engaging with infants, toddlers, families, and colleagues in your program.
Download and print the handout, Reflecting on the Workplace. Take time to reflect on the eight elements of the work environment that cultivate creativity. Think about these characteristics in relation to your personal experiences in the infant and toddler care and learning environment.
As highlighted throughout this course, creativity can help us come up with solutions to our everyday issues and challenges. Download and print the handout Creative Solutions. Use this handout to identify a challenge or problem you are facing today and consider new, creative ways to solve the problem that you have not tried before.
Beghetto, R. A., & Kaufman, J. C. (Eds.). (2010). Nurturing creativity in the classroom. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Kaufman, J. C. (Ed.). (2009). Creativity 101. Springer Publishing Company.
Robinson, K. (2009). The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. New York: Penguin Group.
Schickeadanz, J. A., Hansen, K., & Forsyth, P. D. (2000). Understanding Children. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company.
Trawick-Smith, J. W. (2014). Early Childhood Development: A Multicultural Perspective, (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
Zevin, J. (2013). Creative Teaching for All: In the Box, Out of the Box, and Off the Walls. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.