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1. List the six thinking dispositions used to promote children’s thinking and creativity by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (as cited in your text).

2.Describe the combination of attributes that are required in order for children to express creativity as suggested by Russ in the reading.

3.Describe the three factors suggested by Mellou (cited in the reading) that can be used to nurture creativity in an educational setting?

4.What are the factors that may limit or stifle creativity in early childhood settings?

5.Identify the Quality Area and element from the NQS that relates to children’s agency.

6.Identify the indicator within Learning Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity that relates most closely to children’s agency.

7.Identify the element in QA3 Physical Environment that relates most closely to the provision of creative experiences in Children’s Services with regard to resources.

8.Identify the indicators within Learning Outcome 4 Children are confident and involved learners that relate to children’s creativity in regards to learning.

9.Which indicators within Learning Outcome 5 Children are effective communicator’s link children’s creativity in regard to communication?

Skills for engaging creatively



The ability to think of many ideas related to a particular topic.


The ability to find many different and challenging alternatives to a problem and to bring order out of disorganisation.


The ability to produce something (including thoughts) that is unique.


The ability to think about and analyse a problem in many different ways.


Having an innate sense of wonder.


The ability to take an idea and make it more interesting or complex.

Risk taking

The willingness to try new approaches and learn from failures.


The ability to go beyond the boundaries of reality.

The six thinking dispositions used to promote children’s thinking and creativity

The six thinking dispositions used to promote children’s thinking and creativity:

  • Social/emotional development helps the children in expressing their viewpoints confidently.  
  • Motivations as well as dispositions help the children to solve a problem adequately and think about it.
  • Cognitive development helps the children to develop their capacity to classify as well as sort at concrete level.
  • Linguistic development helps the children acquire linguistic competence. It helps them explain why they have done certain things in that particular way. In addition to this, it helps them in discussing their action plans and also giving answers to the open ended questions.
  • Creative development shows the children the degree of imagination as well as flair in what they perform.
  • Reflective responses motivate the children to ask questions as well as express their desires of knowing more. Furthermore, it helps the children to be self critical to some extent, accept others’ suggestions and tackle ambiguity as well as being open to take challenges.

There are many ways how children develop and express their creativity. Majority of the theorists have viewed young children as highly creative. They have a natural tendency of fantasizing, explore as well as experiment their environment. Most importantly, this high creativity level may not be maintained throughout their childhood to adulthood. Most of the writers agree that education highly influence creativity. However, the attributes which are required by the children to express their creativity are discussed here. Firstly, the creative environment is considered to be one of the most crucial elements which influence children to express their creativity on the long run. Secondly, the creative programs help in enhancing or improving the children’s creative skill set. This can be done through specific teaching procedure including the art based ones. Thirdly, creative teachers as well as creative thinking are the key attributes which help in fostering the creativity into the younger children. Teachers must play a vital role in providing the kids with optimum balance between the freedom and structure of expression.

Three factors that can be used to nurture creativity in an educational setting are discussed as follows;

  • Allowing time for the young children to encourage efforts and be creative, which can be extended over weeks or days. They must receive education on several techniques while using equipments and materials.
  • Planning as well as creating opportunities for the children to help them collaborate with each other creatively. In addition to this, the young children must be involved into critically reflecting as well as solving real life problems. They must be encouraged and motivated to raise their issues, without any fear. This must be done on an individual basis. Furthermore, support from the parents is immensely important, which must be taken into consideration.
  • Moreover, the teachers of the educational centers must display the works as well as achievements of the children in a very creative, yet meaningful manner. In addition to this, designing a flexible framework will help in responding to the interests and likings of the children, when they arise.

The factors which may stifle or limit creativity in the early childhood settings are discussed as follows;

    • Adults as well as educators can limit the creativity of the children by discouraging their level of fantasy. It must be kept in mind that children’s minds are the storehouse of creativity. Therefore, the young children must be encouraged as well as motivated to think of new ideas and create their own opinions.
    • The adults and teachers can also limit the creativity of the young children by having low expectations from them, regarding what they can achieve in their lives.
    • The pressure on the teachers and educators to focus on the numeracy and literacy can also conspire against the encouragement of children’s creativity.
    • In addition to this, lack of training among the educators also plays a major role in limiting the creativity of the younger children. Therefore, it must be kept in mind that the educators are highly experienced and trained so that they can easily tackle the kids and foster creativity among them. 
  • Moreover, a tension between fulfilling the needs of the class and motivating the individual’s interests can also stifle creativity of young children.

The quality area and element that relates to the children’s agency is the strong sense of identity among the children. They have a tendency of developing their resilience, sense of agency, emerging autonomy and inter dependence. The educational programs help in enhancing the children’s development and learning. In addition to this, the curriculum decision making assists in contributing to their developmental and learning outcomes in relation to the identity, community, confidence and wellbeing. Each and every child’s current strengths, culture, knowledge, ideas, interests and abilities are considered to be the foundation of these educational programs. Moreover, the educators can also extend and facilitate their learning and development by motivating them to generate thoughtful actions as well as decisions. Furthermore, each and every child’s development and learning must be assessed as well as evaluated by thorough observation, documentation, monitoring, planning, reflection and implementation. Critically reflecting on the children’s learning and developmental activities helps in driving the program planning as well as implementation. Additionally, family members must be informed about such programs so that they can have an idea of their children’s progress.

Children have a strong sense of identity. They feel secured, safe as well as supported. The common indicators are;

  • Educators promoting this by acknowledging as well as responding sensitively to the signals and cues of the children.
  • Educators and teachers must respond sensitively to the attempts of the children in order to initiate conversations and interactions.
  • The educators must support the children’s secured attachment through warm and consistent nurturing relationships.
  • They must support the children in the times of changing environment. In addition to this, they must be able to bridge the gaps between the unfamiliar and the familiar.
  • In addition to this, the educators must build upon the culturally values approaches and practices to the learning.
  • Moreover, the educators must always be emotionally available to support the children’s thoughts as well as feelings.
  • Additionally, the educators and teachers must recognize the young children’s feelings of fear, discomfort or distress as it may take some time to resolve.

Attributes required for children to express creativity

The elements which closely relates to the provision of creative experiences are the ways the educators organize, equip and design the educational environment. This must significantly influence the child’s interaction with resources as well as space. High quality environmental factors help in promoting the engagement of the children to the level of inclusive relationships and positive experience. The physical environments of learning must include both outdoor as well as indoor learning spaces which have various positive attributes. The positive attributes may include flexibility, accessibility, open ended activities, sensory experiences, a range of appropriate experiences, sustainable environment, broader communities and more. In addition to this, the provision of the resources as well as the physical layout must be kept into consideration. This may include various aspects like;

  • The total amount of space and the way it is arranged for various ages of the children.
  • Accessibility between the outdoor and indoor environments.
  • Internal as well as external levels of noise and more.

There are various indicators which indicate that children are involved as well as confident learners. They learn from their time of birth. The specific indicators are as follows;

  • They are more likely to try out or explore new ideas as well as concepts.
  • They master new activities and build on their own understanding regarding the world which revolves around them.
  • They are more involved and confident at the time, when their community as well as family understandings and experiences are included and recognized in the early childhood settings.
  • They use several procedures of collaboration, exploration as well as problem solving methods across all the aspects of their curriculum.
  • They are able to develop as well as direct their own sense of learning.
  • When the children are engaged actively, they tend to develop positive dispositions, creative thinking, inquiry processes and new ideas or concepts.
  • In addition to this, the playful experiences also help the children to experiment, interact and explore with others. This helps them in sharing their ideas as well as negotiates meanings.

Children are effective communicators. They interact with others verbally as well as non-verbally for a range of purposes. The educators promote this learning by engaging the children into enjoyable interactions and teaching them in a playful manner. The teachers also listen to the children’s approximation of words and respond to them, in accordance with that. It is highly important for the educators to recognize the children’s communicating methods and improve those areas. Engaging the children into sustainable communication can also give an idea of their experiences and view-points. In addition to this, this procedure would also improve the vocabulary of the children. Furthermore, the educators must include real life experiences and resources in order to promote the children’s usage of mathematical languages. Educators must also promote their engagement with texts by reading a range of books with them. In addition to this, they can also provide the children with a literacy enriched environment by including prints in home language as well as standard Australian English.

Drew and Rankin defined creative arts to be the most important thing which draws upon the inner resources of the children, which in turn makes the possible direction as well as clear expression. They developed some goals which are highly necessary for engaging the children into creative arts. Firstly, the spontaneous and creative self expressions increase the children’s sense of competence as well as wellbeing. Adults and children who are highly skilled at art and play have more power to influence and create meaningful lives for their own selves. Secondly, children deepen and extend their understandings through various experiences with diversified materials. Thirdly, children play with their peers, which support a growing sense and learning competence. In addition to this, children can also learn science, mathematics and others with the help of open ended materials. Fourthly, children learn best at open ended explorations which help them in making connections with their educators. Lastly, teachers and educators are nourished by observing the children’s learning and joy.


Principle for using open-ended materials

“I’m putting all the white rocks in this pile and all the black ones in this pile,” announce Hanneke.

PRINCIPLE 4: Children can learn literacy, science, and mathematics joyfully through active play with diverse, open-ended materials.

Educators at Blue Bay Early Learning Centre meet monthly to review how children are using open-ended materials to support creativity.

PRINCIPLE 7: Ongoing self-reflection among teachers in community is needed to support these practices.

“I see you’ve sorted the rocks Hanneke. I wonder how many rocks are in each pile?”

PRINCIPLE 1: Children’s spontaneous, creative self-expression increases their sense of competence and well-being now and into adulthood.

When working on a collage using pieces of patterned paper, Conor says: “Hey, these two patterns are the same. See they both have stripes!”

PRINCIPLE 5: Children learn best in open-ended explorations when teachers help them make connections.

“Wasn’t it wonderful to see how excited the girls were about their paper backpack!”

PRINCIPLE 6: Teachers are nourished by observing children’s joy and learning.

Perri and Nora proudly announce: “Look what we did! We made a backpack out of paper!”

PRINCIPLE 2: Children extend and deepen their understandings through multiple, hands-on experiences with diverse materials.

Pre-schoolers, Mia, Rachel, Eva and Harry are seated at the drawing table. They are carefully drawing a vase of flowers that has been placed on the table. “I’m finished”, announces Harry. “No, you haven’t done the bits of yellow in the middle”, say Eva. “Oh”, say Harry, “I forgot! How did you do them?”

PRINCIPLE 3: Children’s play with peers supports learning and a growing sense of competence.

Factors to nurture creativity in an educational setting

Post, Hohmann and Epstein defined open ended materials as effective methods which stimulate genuine creativity among the children. The open ended materials allow the children to make choices independently. In addition to this, it is the key element which helps in generating creative mindset among the children. At times, when children play with open ended materials, they explore the feel and look of the materials. The wide range of materials, along with the suggestions helps them identify the scientific and artistic creations. Furthermore, Post, Hohmann and Epstein mentioned that the more children are into open ended materials, the more they are getting pleased aesthetically. They can express their happiness by fiddling, ordering or sorting the materials. Moreover, it is immensely important to mention that the creative arts in the early childhood programs help in enhancing the kids’ communication power, ability to feel and express them-selves. If the children are provided with ample amount of opportunities, they can surprise and delight everyone with their creativity. Being adults, it is important to motivate and encourage them at every stage of life.

Neill defines loose parts as materials having no specific set of directions. They can also be utilized alone or together along with other materials. Moreover, they can be carried, moved, redesigned, combined, taken apart, lined up and again put back in multiple forms. The child, instead of a manufacturer or an adult, determines the way the materials can be used. Loose parts are the ones which is not battery operated. Battery operated toys limit the creativity of the children. In fact, the battery operated toys simply provide the kids with fun. On the contrary, playing with loose parts helps in freeing the creativity of the children. In addition to this, loose parts help in freeing the imagination power of the children and also allow them change the world in infinite ways. The more flexible the materials are in their environment, the greater is the level of creativity as well as inventiveness they tend to express. The loose parts can be easily manufactured or natural and the only limitation of this is its safety, the children’s imagination and the surrounding they live in.

Children get hugely benefitted from playing with the loose parts. Over the years, various theories have emphasized the relationship between the loose parts or open ended materials and creativity. The loose parts highly encourage the children and provide them with ample opportunities to free their problem solving abilities and creativity. Playgrounds with fixed and stationary equipments only limit the variability as well as the amount of children’s movement. Just like the open ended materials inside the classrooms, the loose parts are also developmentally appropriate for the kids, as it put the creativity in ways as well as suit their level of development. The presence of the loose parts helps in promoting a wide range of playful activities to the children. It enhances their level of creativity and also they become more constructive, exploratory and dramatic. In addition to this, the loose parts help the children by motivating as well as encouraging them to engage into higher playing levels. Moreover, the loose parts extend the outdoors of learning environment and encourage the kids to explore their surroundings.

Factors that may limit or stifle creativity in early childhood settings

The exploration and the usage of the loose parts or open ended materials support creativity to a huge extent. The open ended materials and loose parts allow the children to be independent and make their own choices. These methods are particularly effective for the children as it supports their creativity to a large extent. At times, when the children play with the open ended or loose materials, they explore the feel as well as look of the materials. In addition to this, the children develop an aesthetic sense, by exploring and investigating the beauty of the materials. The more the children use loose materials, the more they learn from those things. Moreover, these materials help in supporting the creativity of the children to a large extent. Furthermore, the playful as well as creative arts in the early childhood settings are considered to be the essential ways of enhancing the children’s communicating and thinking abilities. In this era of high performance standards, it is more important to take the creativity of the children into consideration, in addition to education. Such values contribute to the mental development of the children. 

Creativity in the context of Early Childhood Education can be defined as the subject, which has various new as well as interesting dimensions. However, it is still a challenging factor to define and quantify with any precision. Creativity deals with the material that is presented in a commercial as well as superficial fashion. One clear definition in the context of Early Childhood Education is a combination of sensitivity, originality and flexibility of the ideas and concepts, which helps the thinker to break into different as well as productive sequences from the usual sequence. This gives satisfactory results to the thinker himself/herself as well as others. Creativity can be considered purely as a form of product. The particular element inside creativity refers to what the people or person produce. This should also contain the element of uniqueness. In addition to this, various authors discusses the need of production, which is not mass production but intrinsic value and originality in the products. Therefore, in simpler terms, creativity can be defined as the production of a thing which is both new as well as truly valuable.

Products can be defined as the generation of new ideas, development of the concepts, manufacturing as well as implementation of the physical services or objects. The product designers evaluate and conceptualize the ideas by making them more tangible through the products and in more systematic manner. The role of a product designer encompasses various characteristics of a marketing manager, design engineer, industrial designer and product management. However, the role of the product designer combines commerce, science and art for the tangible and non-perishable products. On the contrary, a process is highly necessary to produce new items and products. New products are not considered as realities until and unless they are generated. Process refers to the complete description as well as delineation of some specific steps, which enables the system to generate the desired quality and the required quantity. The process planning is immensely necessary for the new products. However, replanting can occur as the capacity needs to change, so that the overall production does not get easily affected.

Quality area and element related to children's agency

Open ended or loose parts are the ones which have no particular directions and can be utilized with other materials. These can be lined up, carried, taken apart, moved as well as put back together in various ways and also redesigned. The children have the power of determining what materials can be used and how to utilize those. The open ended or loose materials provide the children with multiple opportunities of freeing their ideas and creativity. It enables the children to become creative as well as imaginative. It also helps them in expressing themselves by utilizing different materials and also represent as well as explore other things. There is no such pressure or limitations to complete the end product. At times, when children play with open ended materials, they get engaged into problem solving as well as decision making opportunities. By exploring such materials, children tend to become designers, artists, innovators, collaborators and explorers as they arrange, stack, build, sort, manipulate, stack and design in different ways.

In the early childhood setting, creativity is very hard to define. It is often linked with painting, drawing, art and so on. However, creativity is regarded as an important part to develop the children’s innovative thinking power and problem solving opportunities. In addition to this, an educator plays an important role in supporting creativity of the children. The educators must support the development of innovative thinking as well as provide the children with various opportunities of problem solving. They can motivate and encourage them by playful activities. In addition to this, the open ended materials help the children in freeing their level of creativity. Moreover, play provides the children with huge opportunities to solve critical problems, build connections, enhance the power of communication and also create new ideas within the secured environment. Therefore, the educators must support the creativity of the children by creating stories in their plays, negotiating with their parents, making sense of new words and also explore new things with them. 

Educators do not always need to give new materials to the children. Instead, they can use daily objects and present it in front of the children, which in turn, will encourage the creative development of the children. The educators can simply utilize an empty cardboard box and reshape into a robot or a house. Ribbons and other things can be used to make it look more attractive. In addition to this, the educators must encourage and motivate the children to make their own play materials. They can be given with colored papers, attractive strings, cardboard and so on, in order to show their creativity. They must be encouraged as well as motivated to explore their ideas and develop new things. Moreover, the educators must keep into consideration, the safety of the children and also check that nothing limits their creative and imaginative power.

Indicator within Learning Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity that relates most closely to children’s agency

The educators can use a plastic tablecloth or some old newspapers for this purpose, a sheet of paper and also colors. The educators need to cover up the table or say, floor of the classroom with the newspapers or tablecloth. The sheet of paper needs to be folded and then unfolded. The children can put their hand marks on one half of the folded paper after dipping it into the paint. This will make them excited and also encourage them to learn about their body parts.

Toddlers and young children love to listen to music. They also get hugely involved into music play. More often, they start singing the songs to themselves, while they get involved into other playful activities. The toddlers also enjoy playing some musical instruments like drums, and making sounds. Music and songs are considered to be the most important elements for the children to express their own selves. Singing motivates as well as encourages the young children to learn new words and also helps in developing their memory. Therefore, learning through music is a very useful way of teaching the kids new things.

  1. One of the cognitive skills required for creativity is divergent thinking.
  2. Goleman, Kaufman, and Ray (1992) believe that relationship between thinking and feelings, between mind and body, are critical to unleashing creativity.
  • Young children can be supported to develop problem-solving and critical thinking throughcreative movement.
  1. During creative movement experiences, children learn to pay attention to detail.
  2. Linking movement experiences with receptive and expressive language builds children’s thinking skills.
  3. Carefully and rigorously reflecting on their past experiences and using their memory to note relationships and make comparisons based on a set of criteria is an example of children’s ability to engage in emerging literacy.
  • When educators ask children to recall what movements they did or saw their peers do they are supporting children to use their working memory.
  • Children can be assisted to recall and use descriptive language and discover new types of movement when the educator engages them in linguistic connectionand consider differences between
  1. Creative movement activities foster critical thinking.
  2. The scaffolding technique of ‘the three Es’ refers to engage, expand and empower.
  3. Selected children’s literature fosters open-ended dance experiences and rich conversations that promote children’s

Benefits of music to children’s learning and development

Areas of Development

Express feelings; soothe hurt feelings; increase feelings of self-worth.

Cognitive Development.

Explore the numerous ways in which their bodies move; improve balance and coordination; enhance fine motor skills through finger plays.

Physical Development.

Interact with peers, cooperate, take turns.

Social Development.

Develop new vocabulary; learn new concepts.

Language Development.

Develop listening skills in songs requiring specific actions at specific times; develop creativity and imagination by inventing their own song lyrics or dance moves; increase attention span.

Emotional Development.

Developmental Domain

Skills that are enhanced through music and movement experiences


Music helps in linking the children to their cultural heritage and assists them in acquiring the cultural values as well as beliefs. In addition to this, listening to music helps the children learn faster and better.

Physical (Motor)

As the children create music, they start improving their motor skills, rhythm as well as coordination. It also makes them excited and it enhances their ability to sequence the sounds, respond to the rhythm patterns, recognize as well as discriminate the melodies.

Thinking (Cognitive)

There is a correlation between the music abilities as well as academic achievement. Music can aid all the areas to the development of the child. Singing songs and learning through songs can assist the children in learning math, language and science concepts. It also assists the children to memorize new things.

Language and Literacy

The performance indicators are attending to a story, retelling information from the story, demonstrating book awareness as well as understanding the basic conversational vocabulary. Multiple copies of various books, creating puppets along with pictures will help them learn better.

Age Group

Music experiences to support children’s development

Infant (up to 12 months)

For infants, music has immense power as well as meaning which go beyond words. Sharing music with the infants is one of the most important ways of sharing as well as receiving love. For example; singing a baby lullaby, rocking a baby stimulates the development of languages at the early stage.

Toddlers (12 - 24 months)

For the toddlers, music offers them various opportunities. These opportunities can be learning as well as practicing regulation, understanding emotions, cooperating and building relationships, develop cultural awareness, share things, take turns, experience self esteem, self confidence and self efficacy.

Older toddlers (24 - 36 months)

For the older toddlers music plays an important role in their educational as well as physical development. They also develop their vocabulary and language skills. In addition to this, their communication skills get enhanced and moreover, they keep on learning new things and concepts. The music can be utilized in a huge way to teach the kids new and important things in a playful manner.

  1. The four basic elements of dance are;
  • Body parts movement variations which mentions about flexibility.
  • Spatial variations which discusses about various patterns on the dance floor.
  • Time variations which discusses about the motion of the dancer.
  • Energy variations discusses about the energy of the dancer.
  1. The benefits of dance for the young children are;
  • Curriculum enrichment.
  • Accessibility to all the children.
  • Physical development.
  • Dance acts as an antidote towards obesity.
  • Social and emotional development.
  • Enhances creativity.

Age Group

Movement and dance experience to support children’s development

Infant (up to 12 months)

Lifting their heads, helping them to walk, roll over, sit or crawl.

Toddlers (12 - 24 months)

Body shaking, jumping, walking, dancing with ribbon rings.

Older toddlers (24 - 36 months)

Body movements, shaking, jumping, minor steps, dancing with ribbon rings.

Preschool (3 - 6 years)

Work outs, new dance moves, testing body flexibility, dancing with songs to keep the track of the beat, learning about time and beats.

  1. Leong and Bodrova described dramatic play into something which contributes to the development of the children’s language and communication skills.
  2. So benefits are; physical development, emotional development, experimenting with emotions, group interactions, playing alone, self confidence, self esteem and others.
  3. Educators must support play as it helps the children gain knowledge as well as experiences in more creative manner.
  4. The key elements are; children’s play and planning, the ability to take on to different roles and maintain those, usage of props, usage of language, extended time frame and others.
  5. The five stages are; First scripts, the roles in action, roles with rules as well as beginning scenarios, mature roles as well as symbolic props and lastly, dramatization as well as director’s play. 

Age Group

Creative experiences to support children’s development

Birth - 3 months

Showing good head control, smiling, reaching out for new objects, taking keen interest in the surroundings and more.

3 - 8 months

Keeping the head level with their body, sitting, recognizing objects, clapping, making sound and more.

8 - 18months

May be standing, walking, pointing fingers, showing needs and more.

18 - 24 months

Experiencing new emotions, everyday skills, learning and playing, talking and uttering words and more.

24 – 26 months

Cognitive development, identifying letters, numbers, speaking short and simple sentences and more.

3 – 4 years

Communication skills, learning abilities, gaining new experiences and more.

4 – 5 years

Creativity, imaginative power, making new friends, learning new things and more.

The key stages are;

  • The scribble stage.
  • The pre-schematic stage.
  • The schematic stage.
  • The transitional stage.
  • The realism stage.
  1. Eric Carle believed that the passage from home to schools is the biggest trauma of the children. He understands the children’s creativity and shares his most cherished emotions and thoughts on childhood.
  2. The themes of the stories are drawn from Eric’s extensive knowledge as well as love for nature. The main challenges are the safety and security of the children. It must be taken care that while exploring new things, the kids do not hurt themselves.
  3. It is immensely important for the educators to introduce children to new knowledge and skills, in order to test their competence level. Children’s minds are the storehouse of creativity. If proper education is not given at the early stage, they will not be able to learn things in a better manner. 

The educator can show to the children more pictures of the water buffalo. Children are always interested in knowing about new things. Therefore, the educators must read interesting stories regarding water buffaloes and ask them questions to check the memory power of the children. In addition to this, the educator can also ask the children to paint and draw, what they had seen at the farm. 

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