Your Child's Creative Brain!

May 16, 2013 10:01 by Andy

Your Child's Brain:  Part 4

Creativity is 3 Times More Important than Intelligence for Lifetime Success

In 1958, Professor E. Paul Torrance studied a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tests.  For the next 50 years, scholars have tracked those children.  The conclusion:  childhood creativity is more than three times stronger than childhood IQ in predicting lifetime creative accomplishment.  

As important as this is, American creativity scores are actually falling.  The scores for children from Kindergarten through sixth grade are in the greatest decline.  This is occurring at a time when creativity is being identified as the number one leadership competency of the future. 

We must solve this creativity crisis!  Creativity is an essential part of what we do.  Our Play Village is a creativity laboratory that lets kids pretend, invent, discover and dream with friends every day! 


Part 5:

Cognitive Growth is Dependent on Emotional Health and Social Skills

According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, a child’s cognitive intelligence cannot be separated from his or her social and emotional health.  Emotional well-being and social competence are the bricks and mortar that make up the foundation for cognitive abilities.  Developing a healthy balance in the early years is a prerequisite for success in school, the workplace and the community.  All future learning is dependent on this important foundation.  Relationships are critical in this process, as a child’s social and emotional health is highly impacted by relationships with family members, adult caregivers and teachers. 

At O2B Kids, our Fun Crew Teachers and Counselors are brilliant at feeding a child’s social and emotional health.  We deliver more hugs, more smiles and more friends! 

Importance of Play

August 22, 2011 06:12 by Kristi

Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.  And it is so important!  Technically, play is open-ended, child-directed, flexible, creative and FUN!  During play, children learn how to explore, pretend, create, solve problems, get along with others, lead, follow, make friends, build, invent, make decisions, try new things, develop skills and find their passion. 
But that’s not just our opinion!  Play is so important to child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a “right” of every child.  The American Academy of Pediatrics says that play is essential to human development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of every child.  Specifically, the Academy states that:
• Play is important to healthy brain development
• Play allows children to create and explore … conquering their fears while practicing adult roles
• Play helps children develop new competencies, enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges
• Play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills
• Play allows children to practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue
• Play builds active, healthy bodies. 
Most of us do not need the Academy of Pediatrics or the United Nations to validate the importance of play.  We have all experienced the joy and benefits of play throughout our lifetimes.  However, we are facing a cultural shift in how kids play.  Many families no longer feel comfortable sending their kids out into the neighborhood to play, and most schools have cut recess and free time.  This “neighborhood time” is often substituted for technology experiences’ where climbing virtual trees replaces climbing real trees.  The type and amount of children’s play is changing fundamentally.  But benefits are delivered best through traditional, hand-on, hands-dirty play.  Let's make it a part of our everyday!

Child Initiated Learning

April 29, 2011 07:05 by Kristi

Children learn so much while they are playing in the neighborhood!  They learn how to explore, pretend, create, solve problems, get along with others, lead, follow, make friends, build, play, invent, make decisions, try new things, develop skills and find their passion.  Many families no longer feel comfortable sending their kids out into the neighborhood to play, and many schools have cut recess and free time.  But kids have to learn these skills somewhere!  Because The Neighborhood is an important part of a child’s social and emotional growth, we’ve created a place for them to do those things within the safe walls of O2B Kids under the watchful eye of our Fun Crew.  This child-directed play is a time of rich learning, and we’re proud to provide these essential learning opportunities to children in our communities. 

“Play is our brain's favorite way of learning.” - Diane Ackerman, Contemporary American author

Neighborhood Time is a crucial learning time for all children.  During Neighborhood Time, a designated part of the facility is open, and children get to choose what to do while they are there.  Children choose the activity and the action.  Playing alone or with others, they interact with materials freely, in many different ways. 

During this non-scripted play, children gain essential skills.  They have the opportunity to: 

• Practice problem solving
• Understand consequences
• Develop social skills
• Gain independence & self confidence
• Learn to be responsible
• Gain physical fitness
• Create leadership skills
• Practice self-regulation
• Use their creativity

What Grown-Ups Can Do!

To support child initiated play and to maximize the enrichment, our daily goal is to
• Set the stage
• Supervise safe play
• Expand upon learning opportunities!

We discuss what parts of the building or classroom are available and what activities the kids want to do when they get there.  What will they try to get better at?  Who will they play with?  How will they make it fun and exciting, or calm and relaxing, or energetic and heart-pumping? 

The building changes!  Each day we make sure there is something different to stimulate play -- building blocks, bowling pins, connect four, costumes, cardboard boxes, yarn, walking sticks, bubbles, paper, cloth, tubes, etc.  Each thing stimulates play, and changes the child’s interactions from one day to the next. 
Child initiated learning is not a matter of chance.  We think about the child’s development and intentionally prepare an interesting and rich environment that offers choices. 

Did we just finish a unit on physics?  Then we add cloth and a vacuum cleaner and see if kids can make a kite.  Did we just learn about Shakespeare?  Then we add hats and robes and see if they create a play. 

We observe children, ask open-ended questions, and make suggestions that will extend children’s play and support their learning. 

We ensure it is Safe Play!
• Engagement, Engagement, Engagement!  We offer choices, and create opportunities for learning, creativity and growth.
• Be proactive.  We look for mad, sad or confused faces on children and ask questions before a problem occurs:  Are they sick? Scared? Tired? Hungry?  Worried?  Bored?
• Take the time to connect with each child, every day.  We look them in the eye, and listen when they talk.
• Set limits and consequences in advance whenever possible.
• Be consistent, kind and firm with limits, consequences, rules and expectations.
• Keep it simple, have as few rules as possible and discuss them often.

"Do not…keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play." ~ Plato