It’s a question a lot of teachers hear, and one you may have asked yourself: Does my child qualify for gifted programs? Today, gifted programs start early in elementary schools and can carry on all the way through high school. Many parents and students are feeling the pressure to get in and get in early. However, contrary to what some may believe, there is not a one-size-fits all approach for getting into these programs. Furthermore, one key factor that guides many schools in placing children in gifted often goes overlooked by parents. That one factor is creativity!
Creativity is a familiar word for parents and teachers. We all know it is important. We all appreciate it when we see it, but what exactly does it look like? Is it an innate ability that some children have? The short answer is not exactly. Creativity is something that develops and with proper facilitation, can grow with age. So, how can we foster creativity in children? The first step is to look at your child and find what interests them.
Fostering creative thinking is much like any other skill you teach your child. The first and often most challenging part is finding out what peaks your child’s interest. If your child has little to no curiosity about computers, putting them in a coding club is going to feel more like torture than fun to them. Every child is unique, therefore every child’s creative niche is unique. If you are trying to inspire creativity in your child, pay attention to activities they like to do for fun.
If your child is an avid reader, consider the books they read. This could be your guide in finding their creative outlet. Is your child into fiction? Consider helping them to write their own fantastical story. For tips on how to write stories with kids, check out these tips from Read Write Think.
Helping your young reader to become a young author has a multitude of advantages. Kids who love to write are more likely to take on writing assignments in school with enthusiasm. They can flex their muscles on short answers, essays, and later, papers. This skill set can also help them on written portions of tests. Finally, writing can help kids to think creatively. If your child loves to read and needs a boost in expressing their own original ideas, consider at home writing activities, clubs, or even a writing tutor.
So what if your young learner is more drawn to screen time than books? Today there are plenty of ways to encourage creative thinking using technology. If your child loves computers and video games, consider coding. Coding is a great way to encourage creative thinking, problem solving and goal setting. For a list of age-appropriate coding resources, look at Code Wizards. If your child is great with technology, or if you often find them asking for more screen time, coding activities can be a great way for you to both get what you want. They will get the screen time they crave while learning new, creative ideas.
Writing and coding are both great ways to foster creative thinking, but what if you have an active kid? If your child is always on the move, you probably have doubts about them engaging in any activity that requires them to sit or stand still for long periods. This does not mean that there aren’t creative resources for active children, however. On the contrary, there or multiple ways to help your child think creatively and help them get their energy out at the same time. If your busy-bodied kid loves music and the spotlight, consider dance or music lessons. Dancing and music classes are great for kids who prefer to learn by moving. Music and dance both help children to set goals, think outside their usual parameters, and show off what they have learned. Find advice on how and when to start introducing music to children here at PBS.
If you notice your child has an interest in music or loves to groove, music and dance might be your ticket to helping them think creatively. If you’re not looking for the commitment of lessons, try some fun activities at home. Make up silly songs with your child, dance around to your favorite tunes, or even put on a family talent show. If it challenges them to think outside the box, it will foster creativity.
If you are looking into gifted programs, or maybe you just want to help your child think more independently, consider what you have been doing to foster creativity. Creative thinking is an important skill that can help students become more rounded. Chances are your child’s interests will help guide you in finding out what lights that creative spark. Every child has creative abilities; our challenge as adults is helping them to figure out where they shine.
Contact Dynamis Learning Academy to schedule a free 15 minute consultation with the owner to discuss the gifted program in Georgia and how your child can qualify at their school. She has had over 15 years of gifted experience teaching children in the public school classroom.
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