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Hi all,


Can anyone help with a document/discussion/article which might help me explain to my colleagues that when the children are participating in painting/gluing/craft etc. it's about their own creativity and thoughts that count - not what it looks like....


I've tried a couple of those well known poems - where the boy eventually waits for the teacher to tell him how to paint his pictures ,.....but the message doesn't seem to be getting through.


We recently discussed we're going on a bear hunt and the children were provided wiht paints to 'paint' through the story. One of our two year olds had created a lovely stripey picture with all the colours in the right order. When I commented to my colleague how lovely it looked she said that she had had to cover up the rest of the paper so that he knew where to paint his line!!!


I fear there is no hope.... :oxD


Any pointers would be very gratefully received.. I'm sure she doesn't mean to be this way but I just think that the lightbulb hasn't been turned on yet letting her see what creative development is really about. :(


Thank you!!

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I would set up a training session for the staff..............................you set out exactly what you need to make a picture, and have an example of that picture on display, it could be anything, but let's say a 'nice little yellow duck'. so you have all the bits ready and tell the staff what you want them to make. As they proceed, you quietly walk up and down, making suggestions about how to 'improve' the picture, BUT much better still, YOU move something on the picture to a different space, or at a different angle to that chosen by the person making it.. You could even say something like' hmmm, it's very nice, but how about we cover that up with some lovely blue paper so it looks as if the duck is hiding under the water??? or ' hmm, yes, it's lovely,now, let's do THIS to it'......then do something they hadn't planned!! I bet they'll be feeling pretty disheartened by time you're finished..............................point made!

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I did what narnia suggests at a tutor class. It was great, one of my peers actually admitted afterwards that she felt really angry with me, it bought a memory she wouldnt divulge but she was furious that I had moved her pieces about.

theres also quotes you cold use about how creativity is about producing something new not reproducing something. I found a few here..

Charles Brower: Creativity Quotes

A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man's brow.


Children will draw pictures with everything in them...houses and trees and people and animals...and the sun AND the moon. Grown-up says, "That's a nice picture, Honey, but you put the moon and the sun in the sky at the same time and that isn't right." But the child is right! The sun and moon are in the sky at the same time.

R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983)

Source: Buckminster Fuller to Children of Earth


When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?”

Howard Ikemoto


A lot of mothers will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves.



The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.

Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)


Beatrix Potter:

Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.


I could go on. There is also guidance from the EYFS book, page 104 to make it more official. :oxD

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At a setting I used to volunteer at one of the staff drove me to distraction while 'directing' the children's creativity, so when I was asked to help do a display with her and the children I did exactly what Narnia suggests. Everytime she altered, changed or directed a child's contribution and did the same to something she'd done, sweetly saying things like ' oh that's lovely, but it looks nicer here!' etc. After the 3rd time I did it I think she was ready to brain me with the display, but after a couple more times she stormed of to the leader and then spent the rest of the morning crying in the kitchen. Apparently children need to be given direction as with out it they'll never learn anything and doing things their own way will only lead to trouble in the future. While the leader and the rest of the staff had no problems letting the children's imaginations run riot, they were never able to persuade her to sit back and go with the flow. She's still there now and by all accounts still the same. While I'd love to claim this idea as my own, I have to admit reading about it somewhere, more than likely on this forum!


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We had an Art Uni lecturer on PGCE who has a charity based organisation called 5x5x5 = Creativity. Cheak out their website, it will give you plenty of great case studies and quotes, like this one:



"Our research findings clearly demonstrate the value of fostering creative enquiry by empowering children to take the lead. 5x5x5 children enjoy an extraordinary, exhilarating journey through which they explore the world around them and discover the joys of proactive learning. They emerge notably more confident, with enhanced self-esteem - better able to engage, express themselves and problem-solve."





Bath Lit fest have a creativity conference coming up, although the focus is on literature, the very same can be said about artwork or any creative based subject! The debate is on the processes of creativity and questions whether there can ever be a finished product/picture/story. 5x5 also follow this processes rather than product view - all very Reggio!!



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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest jenpercy

My staff simply deny that they help children to make things - although they jump out of the way if they see me coming. Apparently, all our boys includin under 5s made identical newspaer swords with integral handles and all S did was to hold sellotape so thery didn't lose the ends. Funny that the children, when asked who made them had it the other way round. S made them and they held the paper.


Often it's not even helping which might in some ways be easier to deal with. It's just hovering, smoothing the paper etc. He then absolutyely denies interfearing at all. I am thinking of videing him when obstensibly videoing the children

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I love the Fluffy Duck Syndrome. thanks for that Wolfie. I'm going to print it out and laminate it and put it in a prominent position - or even several prominent positions - as I have staff who do exactly this despite years of bringing this issue up in staff meetings and on training days.

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Thanks Wolfie - I think I might send it to the CC staff!


Today the planned activity at the Childminder drop in was a Dr's bag, fold the cardboard in half, stick on the green first aid symbol on the outside and glue in pictures of... an auroscope, a blood pressure monitor, a syringe, a plaster etc. xD


The little friend I had with me is 18months old and made a fab picture using pva spread on black cardboard and smeared around with her fingers :o It may even be dry enough to go home with her - by Friday!!



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I'm very pleased but slighty ashamed of my current display effort. No-one will believe that the nursery children created our stunning tigers by themselves!!! I was expecting black and orange splodges and got 4 legs, tails, whiskers sharp teeth xD We are expecting OFSTED any minute and I was hoping for an abundance of child centred work. I will have to defend it with the quality of the input they received the previous day when carpet time revolved what we knew about tigers :o ( we were looking at the tiger in the storm picture)


I wonder if the National Gallery is short of a display????

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Where's the piccy then biccy?


Here's some photo's for you Maz. Difficult to take as its on both sides of a narrowing corridor between cloakroom and nursery room.


We had a carpet time looking at Henri Rousseau's Tiger in a Tropical Storm on our interactive screen (its also our screen saver at the moment) followed by the children directing me how to draw a tiger.


The next day was 'jungle' day-using shades of green paint with foam rollers and tissue paper on large paper.The children loved working in the larger scale and the large motor skills of the paint rollers. Some were so sodden they couldn't be lifted to dry :o


The tigers just amazed me. The children had available a selection of brush thicknesses, paint palettes and bottled paint the only adult directive was be patient only 3 children can paint at once as the table is not big enough!!


When dry and cut out (adults did this on this occasion) the children used a sellotape dispenser to attach a card board strip to the back so although not clear from the photo's the tigers move and are in relief from the jungles.


Photo's taken during the activities are on the raindrops. It was part of a whole school international week on India.

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Thanks for all your responses - seems I'm not the only one with this problem!


I love the fluffy duck document - will definitely leave this lying around! or just make her read it... :o


Thanks again.

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thank you!!! I do worry that Mrs O will not understand how child led this was :o There have been other threads about using famous artwork/artists so hopefully this demonstrates how to use this kind of resource and what the children can produce with the stimulus. It's the most enjoyable thing I've done this year.

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