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Creative Play Method

About the Creative Play Method

Creative play is a comprehensive methodology of creative activities designed primarily for kindergarten teachers, teachers in general, and parents. Our goal is to make creating in kindergartens something else than a “manufactory” where all children make the same products according to a predetermined pattern and hand them over to the teacher.

The method was developed in the Říčany Museum during a four-year project. We tested it with dozens of kindergarten teachers and in 2020 we published a comprehensive methodology. It has been positively evaluated not only by kindergarten teachers and parents, but also by the professional public. It is recommended as a study material for students of early childhood and pre-school pedagogy.

The idea of the method is based on 3 pillars. If you accept the idea and you want to practice creative play, there are 7 rules to follow. The result is infinity of children’s ideas and products.

The whole methodology is in accordance with the Framework Educational Programme for Early Childhood and Pre-school Education (Rámcový vzdělávací program pro předškolní vzdělávání issues by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports)

3

pillars

7

rules

Infinity

of children’s ideas

The basic pillars of the method are:

Children can play with materials and products during and after the activity; they can freely transform and modify them. They can take them outside with them or perhaps place them in a house they build out of ordinary building blocks. The finished product doesn’t end up on a bulletin board.

This means that making decisions about what to create, what to use, how to solve arising problems, and what happens to the finished product is up to the child, not the teacher. In creative play, the adult is more of a guide who prepares the appropriate environment, teaches the children how to follow safety rules and reflects on their work with them.

Children do not have to produce a product during the activity. The objectives of the activities are related to the development of the child’s skills and competences, not the results of their work. Simply put: what a child learns is not always visible. We develop learning competence in a child who, for example, grabs a pair of scissors and “only” cuts conifer needles during the activity, or a child who makes a doll out of wood sticks.

“The methodology helps teachers understand what the role of a “guide” to learning means. Step by step, through the rules of creative play, it unravels the way to support and activate the child in order to develop their competences.”

Zora Syslová, Department of Primary Education, Faculty of Education of Masaryk University.

“The three pillars described by the authors make sense in both pre-school education and lifelong learning. That play is the foundation of learning is an undeniable fact. To transfer activity from the adult to the child, to focus attention on the process of learning, these are among the main principles of the current concept of pre-school education.“

Hana Splavcová, preschool education guarantor, Czech National Pedagogical Institute (NPI ČR)

Rules of creative play:

In creative play, we focus on the process, not the outcome. We want children to find solutions to problems themselves, to work at their own pace, according to their ideas. That’s why we don’t help children in the sense that is common in kindergartens. But that doesn’t mean we leave the children alone with their worries, that we don’t communicate with them.

In creative play, the teacher is children´s guide who helps to channel their attention and find solutions. He/she doesn´t solve problems for the children. Instead, he/she helps them to navigate the choices they have.

In creative play, we give the child space to implement their own ideas. Space not only physical, but also time. When preparing activities, it is necessary to think about what options we give to children who need more time to finish their product – can they finish it in the afternoon during free play (after the activities) or the next day in the morning? Can your colleague be there instead of you, or do the kids work only with you? Where do you store the products in progress?

Mistakes are important in the learning process, perhaps even more important than successes. They not only show the child how not to do a thing, but more importantly, they make the child think about how to do it differently so that next time the result is better.

Using natural and recycled materials is closer to children’s world and spontaneity. It is also much cheaper than using new, purchased materials. We often hear sighs about how today’s children can’t get by with as little as they used to, but at the same time we shower them with plastic toys, “creative kits”, imitations of real things.

Creative play, especially the use of sharp tools, naturally raises concerns about children’s safety. In the publication, we show you safe practices that we have invented, improved and tested over the years with several hundred children in dozens of kindergartens. Introduce the rules to children gradually, practice and repeat the correct manipulation of tools just as you practice any other activity in kindergarten.

Each activity is, of course, more or less planned by the teacher who sets a goal and has a certain idea of the activity. But it is important to be able to get away from this idea if the activity is going in a different than expected direction – yet it is still heading towards the stated goal.

The last rule is also one of the three pillars of creative play. Children still check this rule and they learn how to work with it. They often ask if they can really take the product home, out in the garden, or into the play area of the classroom.

What are
the benefits?
What are the benefits?

The method supports the following in children:

  • the ability to experiment and invent design procedures
  • a high degree of intrinsic motivation to create
  • development of creative thinking
  • validation of one’s own ideas and implementations
  • learning from mistakes
    autonomy and activation of children
    the ability to evaluate one’s own work
  • the desire to invent one’s own ideas
  • cooperation among children
    self-confidence of the child

Contacts

Muzeum Říčany, příspěvková organizace
Rýdlova 271/14, 251 01 Říčany
Czech Republic
muzeum@muzeum.ricany.cz
✆ +420 323 603 161

Adéla Venerová
project manager
adela.venerova@muzeum.ricany.cz

Carolina Sidon
education methods specialist 
carolina.sidon@muzeum.ricany.cz