By Michael Hilkemeijer
Creativity has its own place in the early childhood curriculum as it is about discovering the new and making new connections. In a previous article, I discussed how the use of Information and Communication Technology in preschool activities can affect children’s creativity. Promoting creativity in early childhood education with ICT can be achieved if you plan effectively for its development.
In the 21st century, creativity has been found to be one of the three most sought-after and valued skills that employers will look for beyond 2020 (2018 World Economic Forum). Other surveys have indicated that 60% of CEOs believe that creativity is the most important quality that someone in leadership should have.
Providing children with a wide range of open-ended and meaningful uses of ICT in early childhood education is essential. However, you need to model creativity with the integration of ICT in preschool education and kindergarten learning environments as well.
So here are three ways that I would encourage you to boost creativity with ICT in preschool and kindy today.
Boost Creativity ICT in Preschool and Kindy by choosing the right software
Not everyone is for the use of ICT in early childhood education and often believe that technology is a distraction. Technology can be a distraction but only if the wrong technology is chosen.
Integrating technology in the preschool classroom, for example, should never be as a add on to the curriculum and should be about developing ICT capability in early childhood learning activities which include digital play. If you stick to this philosophy, then you will be able to understand that having the wrong distraction in the room can be avoided if you choose your use of technology in preschool activities in the following ways.
First, the children should always have full control over the software itself. Secondly, it should also be content-free and generic which makes them it possible for children to transfer their capabilities in ICT in preschool activities or kindy throughout other context. Finally, ensure that it does challenge children intellectually and promotes higher order thinking skills
As a teacher myself, I know how distractions cannot be good for teaching. However, you would be surprised to know that distractions can be good for creating a rich mix of creative thoughts in children.
Boost your own level of ICT capability
Building on your own levels of capabilities in ICT in preschool or kindy is not just about acquiring technical skills. Let’s face it…you are never going to know everything. It is important to note that it is through learning the best pedagogical approaches to technology integration such as that learned in our free online professional development for early childhood educators is the start for you.
As a teacher using ICT in preschool or kindergarten your capabilities in ICT is about knowing how to use them correctly for the right situation.
So how can this boost creativity in early childhood education?
Research has proven that if teachers feel comfortable with their confidence and competence in ICT they tend to allow young children to explore the creative uses of ICT in preschool activities or kindy.
Additionally, children are naturally curious and creative so by giving them the freedom to explore you will be promoting creativity in early childhood education once you have provided them with the right software and tools to do so.
Blur the lines between learning and playing with ICT in preschool
Following on from my last tip, softening the lines between learning and playing will help boost creativity with technology in preschool activities. Once children understand that they can have fun while learning they’ll be more open to new ways of thinking and creating.
Furthermore, digital role playing can help to achieve this as it is often termed ‘learning without failure’. If you plan challenging and stimulating role play that builds on what they already know and can do then they will begin to explore creative ideas for use of ICT in their lives and understand it to be a tool that is designed for specific purpose and the many uses of it in their lives too.
In conclusion, you need to use ICT in preschool and kindy to promote creativity in early childhood education. This needs to occur individually and in groups. If you give them a secure environment with effective and sensitive adult support in which they can take risks and make mistakes without fear of failing then their creative ideas will flow. So right ensure that you find the right balance today.