The importance of nurturing creativity

Children outdoors

Parents these days are so obsessed with how they measure their  children’s achievements through exams, grades or who is learning faster and acquiring more skills through that weekend extra classes.

We are so focused on how to make sure they are successful that we forget the importance of encouraging their creativity and just letting them learn through play.

Perhaps, it is ingrained in our education system which has been practised for decades that even children as young as five sit for exams. Parents are also so competitive in ensuring their child is the best in their age group.

While examinations can be a form of assessment to see how much the students have learnt, it withholds their ‘thinking out of the box’ skills, particularly among young children who are usually most creative and imaginative. We are seeing this now among our young children.

Coincidentally, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik had on Wednesday tweeted that students from Primary 1 to 3 will not have to sit for exams and a more objective form of assessment will be carried out beginning 2019. However, not much detail has yet been given.

In fact, even Singapore’s Ministry of Education had (in September) announced that they are cutting down school examinations, while there would be none for Primary 1 and 2 pupils.

Einstein once said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. This is where creativity and thinking outside the box begins in a child.

Instead of focusing so much on classroom activities and examinations, why not let our children spend time outdoors or participate in creative play with the most basic things like stones or even cardboard boxes.

Recently, I took my two young boys to Cardboard City in Kuching and was amazed at how they interacted with other children and used their creativity to make their own toys with cardboard boxes.

Cardboard City was a two-day event from Oct 20-21 organised by INTODESIGN Lab and Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (Sarawak Chapter). The theme this year was ‘Reimagining the Future’, to nurture creativity among children on what they think future cities would look like by recreating using cardboard boxes.

Needless to say, my kids spent hours looking at the projects done by primary school students, as well as doing their own on a small scale.

Spending time outdoors, even at the park to run or take brisk walks not just for the exercise, but also to allow them to see insects and flowers can be intriguing.

So instead of letting our children spend their days at home playing their iPads or mobile phones, why not take them to the park or outdoor events like Twentytwo13’s Sila Lari, Jangan Duduk Fun Run 2018 today?

Get them to engage in creative activities, soak up the sun and let them enjoy nature. After all, there is a saying – learning is not a race for information, but a walk of discovery.

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