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The Power of Planning: How to Foster a Creative Learning Environment for All Ages


My focus has shifted, or should I say broadened, recently. At first, I thought this was tricky to address with the people who read this blog, but then I remembered that creativity is what I champion, not the age of the person being creative!


For the past few months, I haven’t written a new post because of this, but finally I have seen the light! 😅 I can now celebrate that I can reach both adults looking to be creative AND parents of children who love to be creative, or parents who want to bring their children up creatively. Yes, it’s quite a broad audience, I agree, but what is the link? Well, creativity, of course!


So, from this point forward you will find me dipping and diving into different topics that will help us all to find a creative lifestyle. Let’s start with a creative learning environment, no matter your age.


IS IT POSSIBLE TO CREATE A CREATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT?


We should all endeavour to LEARN as much as we can. By which, I don’t mean go back to school – for some of us, school doesn’t have the best memories – I mean find out about the things we like. What we all need is a stimulating environment – one that builds curiosity and exploration.



For a child, a creative learning environment could be a patch of garden, where they can explore insects, plants and grow things. It could be a box of plain bricks that could be used to build castles, villages, fire-stations… It could be that huge cardboard box, with its infinite possibilities (your child will know more about this than I do!). Just giving children simple experiences that could lead into open-ended results (not exactly as they or you planned) will provide an excellent learning experience. [you can read more about developing creativity here]


For us as adults, it could be all of the above (!) or if that all seems not your sort of thing, then maybe start simply by reading about something that interests you, and then maybe taking that further with days out or signing up for a class, talk or activity. Obviously, these things don’t need to cost money. Sometimes it’s about thinking outside the box (which is itself creative) and if you would love to grow flowers and don’t know where to start, why not volunteer for a local community garden? Grow your knowledge and understanding by talking and interacting with others who can share theirs. Community is so important.


BE BRAVE


I run an adult art course locally. It was something I’d never done before. I’d taught children but never adults. I thought I couldn’t do it, but I tried. I guessed that if I had to refund everyone’s money at the end, it would have been a learning curve for me, regardless.


I am now on my third course!



Being brave about things is crucial to our learning and development, especially as adults. Children are much braver. Most young children won’t think twice about trying something, asking a question, or getting things wrong. They learn from their mistakes, and this is how their brains grow and develop. We should take a leaf out of their book and go back to where we once were! How often do you now hesitate before doing something, or get annoyed if you get something wrong?


When did we lose the confidence to “have a go”? Reach out to others who might help or push you on and encourage your idea. Even having a friend who you can tell and ask to support you with your idea is a starting point. They will keep you accountable if things don’t get started.


MAKE A PLAN


Try to stick to a plan. I can’t lecture you here, as I am always pushing the things I need to do further and further into the year, but planning does help, especially if you share it.



If you are doing this with a child, make a plan to offer a creative experience once a month. Save a box, collect wrapping paper and cards for a collage/cutting session, wash and save yogurt pots for planting seeds in Spring. Plan when you could do something and work towards getting the things you need in the weeks and months before this. I have a great little planner as a freebie – you can download it here.


As an adult, if you’re feeling unconfident about taking a step forward into creative-ness, start with small steps. If you want to learn to draw, for example, maybe start by buying some paper and pencils, watching some videos or, if money allows, look out for beginners’ classes locally. Maybe even ask a creative friend to do coffee and art sessions and show you how to draw simple objects in a relaxed and encouraging way.


TAKE A STEP THIS WEEK!


It’s always easy to put things off.

Don’t.


Write your first step on a post-it now and stick it somewhere you will see every day this week. Don’t ignore it. Start your research through the week, or begin to collect those resources you need.


Between now and next month, you WILL START YOUR CREATIVE LEARNING JOURNEY!


And I will be cheering you on all the way, while I do a bit of planning (and sticking to it!) myself! 🥳


Debbie x



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