98% => 30% => 12%
These are the results of creativity test, which was conducted in 1968 by famous scientist George Land with 1600 children throughout the years. Pre-schoolers were scoring the highest results – 98%, while fifteen-year olds were only reaching 12%! Scientists came to the conclusion that while growing up children unlearn how to be creative! In the traditional environment they are bounded by rules and tested along the way, and that is how they “forget” how to use their imagination.
How to prevent this?
During the development of new products, we lean on Reggio Emilia early childhood education approach, which believes that imagination is the experiments’ laboratory.
To create the environment which stimulates imagination, it is important to encourage children to play with open-ended toys. These are tools which do not have one particular function or do not come with exact play instructions. Experimenting with open-ended toys children learn to express and recognise their feelings, cooperate, and play with others.
One of the main Reggio Emilia play objects is the light table. Light attracts children’s attention, evokes the sense of curiosity, and helps learning new information. Light inspires to see everyday things differently.
During the play children can freely express themselves by using materials found in the nature, or with colours and shapes. Combination of various game and learning techniques enhances child’s imagination and widens his or her horizons.
Other educational tools
It is not necessary to have many different educational tools. Many of them you can find at home or outside. Tree leaves, chestnuts can be used as educational tool to learn about nature. Painted pasta or grains can serve as an excellent instrument to start learning to count or differentiate colours. Mirrors in child-centered environment help children to observe activities from different angles, as well as, contribute to their identification of themselves.
One of the foundations of Reggio Emilia philosophy is the flexibility of the space. The order in child’s room or classroom should not stay the same throughout the years. Different furniture arrangement inspires new ideas.
Reggio Emilia early childhood education approach believes that environment is the third teacher which has a huge impact on child’s development. Let’s create the environment which encourages children’s imagination!
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