This week and last we feature posts by Carol Malueg. Carol is active in gifted and 2e organizations locally and nationally; she also blogs on topics related to private and public schools, charter and magnet schools, gifted and talented students, and twice exceptional students.
Fostering creative thinking builds skills that cross over into all areas of study: math, science, literature, social studies, and technology (!), as well as fine art, music, theatre, and dance. Creativity is also important in developing life skills—adapting to change, thinking under pressure, and innovative problem solving. We all face uncertainty and challenges in life. High expectations from parents, teachers, and ourselves add another layer of stress. How can we be all things to all people and still have time to be ourselves?
This takes some creativity!
We, as parents of gifted children, are under a great deal of pressure as it is. First, we are encouraged to find the right academic fit for our kids. Then, we need to stay on top of the social and emotional issues. Now, creativity? Who has the time or energy?
Fortunately for us, opportunities to foster creativity are evident everywhere we look. Some things to remember:
• Follow his interests. It’s easy to want your child to follow in your footsteps, or take up a hobby or learn a skill you wish you’d excelled at as a child. That’s your creative path. Go for it—it’s never too late! Let your child find his own path, even if it means exploring a number of options to find the right fit.
• Encourage practice. When your child says “I’m bad at this,” remind her that no one was born knowing how to fold a paper crane, ski down the hill, knit a scarf, write a story, or spell antidisestablishmentarianism.
• Model positive failure. When a first attempt at a new skill yields a less-than-stellar result, celebrate the learning process! How many things have you never attempted twice? Praise the effort, not the result.
• Stay out of it. Allow your child to do things his way. We know from our own practice and experience how WE do things best. Let him find his way through trial and error, too. Sometimes, he might come up with a better way than your own!
• Let her set the pace. Some kids like accomplishing steps, charging ahead to get to the product. Other kids take their time, needing to figure out the “big picture” before they can take the first step.
For our kids, unstructured, open-ended activities give them a chance to discover and express who they are in different and unique ways. A task with no one right answer can inspire children to try something new without fear of failure. The prospect of sharing creative work with a real-world audience brings new meaning to a project.
Our creative young thinkers will solve global warming and find a cure for cancer!
Carol Malueg currently serves as Vice-President on the state board of directors for the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented (MCGT), www.mcgt.net. A Master Facilitator and Trainer for Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted children (SENG) www.sengifted.org, Carol facilitates groups around the Twin Cities. She works with CollegeSphere as an Independent Educational Consultant, specializing in K-12 educational planning for gifted and talented students in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Carol blogs on topics related to private and public schools, charter and magnet schools, gifted and talented students, and twice exceptional students. You can contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Collegesphere blog at http://mycollegesphere.wordpress.com