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Developing creativity is a very worthwhile way of allowing very young students to be themselves and to think ‘outside the box’. By encouraging creativity and imagination teaching promotes students’ ability to explore and understand their world. It increases their opportunities to develop new ideas and make new connections. It can have a strong impact on their sense of well-being, because it allows students to express their feelings and ideas in a variety of personal ways. It offers teachers many opportunities to assess what students know and can do in an informal and often, very profound way.

Creativity can be promoted through various media. Opportunities for art, music, dance and role play are essential and easy to plan. These activities are generally very popular with students because they allow them the freedom to explore their thoughts and express ideas as they engage in active learning. The outcomes are extremely useful for future planning across all aspects of the curriculum.

In art, students express their ideas through painting, drawing, model making, collage etc. Discussions with students about their work are essentially help teachers assess students’ observation skills, sense of colour, shape and the use of space. Teachers should make sure that there is a varied range of household materials for students to use creatively, as well as paint and materials for model making. The work students produce helps identify how well they select the appropriate materials for the work intended.

Role play offers students valuable opportunities to develop positive relationships with each other. Teachers should set up simple scenarios at first and support students as they act out simple events. Once students become familiar with the process, popular stories can be used to influence role play and students should be encouraged to develop their own ideas as they re-enact aspects of stories. They should be supported to use new language and to be free to become someone or something else, as they take on new roles. Creativity is the essence of role play.

Through dance students develop a strong sense of rhythm, spatial awareness and positional discipline. They learn to collaborate, non-verbally, in group situations, exercise together, and have fun as they move freely to music. Simple resources, such as hoops or ribbon tied to a small stick are useful resources to begin dancing creatively.

Through music most students experience absolute enjoyment. By its very essence, music promotes auditory skills and an increased perception of phonemes and language learning. Students should have regular opportunities to listen to a wide range of music, including, traditional, classical and modern. Students can be taught how to use instruments to create atmosphere, sound effects and moods in their role play. Areas need to be designated for them to create their own music using various instruments or materials that make sound. Songs and rhythm can be used to consolidate, with enjoyment, information that needs to be learned off by heart, such as counting backwards and forwards, weekdays, months etc.


Have resources and equipment on hand and easily accessible to students, including-

  • pictures or models to inspire children – paint, glue, scissors, dough/clay, junk materials simple dress up box – hats scarves shawls, loose trousers etc
  • role play areas – home corner – area devised and created by the students (hospital, shop, or an idea from a story, etc)
  • a range of musical instruments- percussion or home –made

Allocate time to discuss with students, helping them to clarify their creative ideas

Interact sensitively, so students know you value what they are doing

Note any learning observed by groups or individuals

By: Gianna Ulyatt 

Bernadette Duffy (2006) “Supporting Creativity and Imagination in the Early Years”
Craft, A. (2002) “Creativity and Early Years Education”