(This post is from another source. Although I do not have permission to reprint this person’s entry, others have done it to me so I figure its okay as long as I give credit. I’m really busy getting ready for school, working on a new design for this site, and working until 2AM so bear with me if I kinda spaz out with the blog.)
I give full credit for this post to Maureen Healy from Psychology Today. The original post can be viewed here
Is creativity curative? Are their more to crayons than meet the eye? Can a sad child communicate via paint, sand play and sound? Is childhood illness rooted in emotional imbalances? Are more and more children highly sensitive? Does creative self-expression provide the perfect outlet to guide children toward wellness? Is creativity lacking in our systems? Such questions have been alive in me for years.
Crayons and Children
Amazing things happen when you gather a group of preschool aged children and crayons together. Drawings spring out of the ethers and stories begin to unfold. Children love to create. Crayons, markers, pencils, glue, glitter, pom poms and ribbon seem heaven sent. Even the saddest child’s mood is lifted a bit by playing with a puppet or singing at my green piano. So does creative expression solely lift mood or more?
More, I believe. At least the potentiality exists for creative expression to assist in exiting negative, stuck emotions from a developing child. Ancient cultures such as the Tibetans and Native Americans believe mental illness is rooted in emotional imbalances. Intuitively, I agree with them. Scientifically we use different jargon but basically agree that emotions underlie all illness. It doesn’t feel good to be depressed, experience language difficulty, have parents divorcing, be ill or experience other traumas in childhood. Such emotions left untreated may disrupt a child’s growing system thus rewiring their brain for less-than optimal development (i.e. MRI studies, IQ tests of traumatized children).
Children are developing so rapidly it is essential that we meet them wherever they are to facilitate “rewiring” their systems for optimum growth. And a child’s world consists largely of imaginative play and creative endeavors. So being able to direct play or creativity along with a cognitive component is a main entrance into building skills of wellness (i.e. resilience, confidence, courage, connection, character and emotional regulation). Especially if we agree that language is often inaccessible in early childhood and emotionally charged events often find their way into ineffable parts of a child’s being.
One example is Aimee, age 7, that has learned when she feels low to use her voice as a medium to exit stuck feelings. She trusts that humming her favorite tune will diminish her sadness. And it does. It is not a magic wand but one tool in her emotional toolbox.
Parents are an enormously powerful bunch of individuals on the planet. Often their child’s healthy development is the most important piece of their parenting puzzle. I couldn’t agree more. So what is the role of creativity in a child’s overall growth? I believe great. Using creativity as a medium to facilitate a child’s development is smart parenting.
Children create their worlds each day. Tapping into a creative endeavor to teach emotional regulation, language acquisition, teamwork, fine motor skills, interpersonal abilities and more is engaging a child’s heart and mind. Amy, Amelia, Allie and Matt all visited my Children’s Art Studio last weekend. All together we listened to an expert wildlife rescuer and artist reveal an owl’s story, then each of us painted one using acrylics before we set off to see Solomon, the local Screech Owl wintering in the tree nook. With the average age being 5 years old this was a high-energy, creative cornucopia. Tears were had, teamwork was enhanced, drawing honed, scissors utilized and stories shared to support growth.
Being with each child and encouraging their unique creative expression is a powerful way to teach emotional wellness and build skills (i.e. physical, mental). Allie learned about personal space, Amy created an owl story for us and Mattie painted an owl with his favorite friend, a coyote.
So much I do not know for sure. What I do know is that creative outlets and imaginative programs serve children in a multitude of ways both medicinally and developmentally. Every child I have conducted therapy with or nurtured their talents of told me more over glue, construction paper and puppet making. It eases their systems (i.e. nervous, physical), calms their mind, allows for insight and empowers their path.
Very interesting stuff over there. Anyway, if I work hard I’ll have the redesigned site up by Monday if not tonight.