The Case for Creativity in Every Classroom
Part I: The Psychological Payoff
June 12, 2019
Here’s a troubling trend happening with our school-age children: Depression and anxiety medication has overtaken attentional related drug prescriptions. There is a lot to consider behind this phenomenon, but this correlates with a massive shift in troubling parental attitudes and characteristics of childrearing over the last decade.
The facts are clear on this matter: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diagnoses of anxiety and depression in children now outstrip the diagnoses for attention deficit disorder. The medical professional commentary on high school students is very disturbing: as many as 30% of high school students are suffering from anxiety disorders or are experiencing depression.
All parents of children entering middle school and high school should take this explosive topic most seriously. The literature out there pointing the finger at parental attitudes is extensive in volume and must not be ignored. Here’s a short list of how we parents are missing the mark:
- 21st Century parents are showing too much care for their children’s daily annoyances at school and they are overly indulging their children’s stories of peer friction and issues;
- Parents are advocating inappropriately for their kids (when it comes to any slight setback in class performance, homework, or tests) vociferously, aggressively, and rudely;
- Parents are quick to compensate for their children’s perceived weakness or struggle—tutoring has been on the rise for several decades, but in the latter twenty-teens, tutors seems to have muscled their way over the school teachers in terms of esteem and prominence in the eyes of parents;
- Parents today are overplaying strengths in their kids, which sets high expectations and creates unnecessary anxieties in their children.
Many parents may look at this bullet point list and think—wait a minute, what’s wrong with sticking up for my kid, or caring about what is bothering him, or why can’t I fight my child’s teacher who is the one grading my kid?
The core problem with all of the above is that too many kids aren’t being allowed to solve their own problems. Children are not seeing effort as a cornerstone of individual improvement. Children are not being given a chance to pick themselves up after experiencing a setback. Children are not acquiring any realistic understanding of their level of talent vis-à-vis what constitutes true excellence.
One of the hidden virtues of the school experience—often ignored or dismissed by teachers, often belittled by parents—is the opportunity to seize on creativity as a psychologically healthy, rejuvenating, and inspiring aspect of the learning experience.
Many branches of the medical profession, and an immense span of psychiatric and psychological interventions, are all doing what they can to respond to these maladies of anxiety and depression. However, what I have to offer is something nobody out there in the professional medical world can offer. It’s not a panacea. It’s not a replacement for the heart and expertise of all the fine doctors and counselors serving children. It’s not a turnkey solution nor an amazing new app. In fact, it doesn’t even cost schools anything.
What I have to offer is the act of awakening the imagination.
Exercising creativity and the imagination should be a part of every classroom period of the day, no matter the subject. When a child is asked, prompted, enticed, encouraged to bend his/her mind, there is something different and salubrious taking place in the brain. There is a jostling of serotonin and dopamine; the activation of these neurotransmitters will send more signals between nerve cells, enhancing mental acuity, psychological well-being and overall vitality.
It is the immersion in creativity that produces that optimal experience called flow. The researcher Csikszentmihalyi, author of the book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, points to the connection between creativity and positive mental health. This connection can also mitigate anxiety and depression. While the science that looks into the activity in the brain and investigates such triggers as nootropics (brain functioning supplements) or creative and imaginative thought is impressive in volume and in its concluding correlatives, the culture and attitudes surrounding creativity can also work to calm anxiety in children.
Creativity, done right (when teachers suspend judgment and criticism), promotes selfhood, offers the element of surprise, appeals to intrinsic motivation, and combines exhilaration with mental exercise. The creative classroom should also be a classroom of equity, meaning there should be no hierarchy of talents nor any sense of competition.
The atmosphere and the spirit of the classroom are enriched when creativity is valued and incorporated frequently in every classroom. So too, will the collective mood be lifted: and this psychological impact cannot be overstated. Considering the disturbing rise in anxiety and depression among our schoolchildren, any little bits of instructional support aimed at combining a positive mindset with the activation of neurons can only help to bend the trend.
Children Science Experiments – A Prime Aspect to altering your Child’s Personality
When a child is young and budding, the most essential thing there can be to boost up their creativeness is to be supportive of whatever they do. Being a parent, it is our responsibility that we help them out in exploring things that can help them discover their interests and follow what they like. Despite what we do for them to get them interested in fulfilling the “Curious” needs of their personalities, there can be nothing more preeminent for them to get indulged in, other than the Children Science Experiments!
Children Science Experiments – The key to a Greater Mind!
Learning science is exceptionally crucial for kids, especially when they are young. An effective early childhood education helps in nurturing the kid’s personality for good. It will be worthless if it is not combined with the essence of Children’s Science Experiments! So, for you to help out your child in becoming the next mastermind of this era, make sure that you keep them indulged in things that create their interest and makes them inquisitive to learn more about it! To get this done, would there be anything better than teaching them the Children Science Experiments? We guess not! So, described below are some of the FINEST Science Experiments that would leave your kids jaw-dropped, helping them learn a lesson they’d NEVER forget:
- The Erupting Volcano:
The Erupting Volcano is one of the classiest Children Science Experiments to perform to date. Not only would the kids enjoy it thoroughly, but they would also learn a lot from it. While it would give them a thorough insight into the scientific “Magic,” they would undoubtedly ask you to repeat this over and over again. How is it done? It is easier than you think:
Step 1: Get the kids to create a solid mountain using the papier-mâché. While they do so, make sure to guide them through to make a 1” hole in the center. Allow the papier-mâché mountain to dry up. Once it is dried and ready to use, ask the kids to be their creative selves and paint it as good as they can. They’d love it!
Step 2: Once the mountain has completely dried up, add in a couple of tablespoons of “Baking Soda” into the hole.
Step 3: Now is the fun part! Make sure that the kids are standing back and have a complete sight of what they are about to witness. Carefully pour in 1/3 of a cup of vinegar (You can also add-in red food-coloring to make the eruption appear more realistic) into the hole in the mountain.
Step 4: Watch them being overjoyed as they witness an almost realistic volcano exploding upwards while the baking soda and the vinegar have a reaction.
Would the Kids Learn Out of it?
Experimenting with the “Erupting Volcano” has a lot to learn from. While the kids would be utterly thrilled with the end results, there is a fun lesson for them to absorb too. Here is what you can do to teach them a few things:
1) Tell them how Vinegar and Baking Soda react with each other and why. Also, differentiate the experiment by mixing baking Soda with Water and tell them why the reaction is not the same!
2) Explain to them the reasons why the volcano exploded in the upwards direction. Tell them why it was not allowed to flow through the rocks (the sides of the mountain).
- Balloon, Pop Rocks, and Sodas – The Classics:
There can certainly be nothing more classic than the Pop Rocks and Soda experiment. Combining 3 of the most liked items by kids and turning it into a test is how you get the kids to learn the tricky stuff! Be it a school party that your kids are inflating balloons for or whether it is someone’s birthday, here is a fun way for the kids to fill up the balloons without even touching it!
Step 1: Take a balloon and fill it up with pop rocks.
Step 2: Take a fresh soda bottle. If it has been opened up before, the Carbon Dioxide would’ve escaped, and the experiment won’t work that brilliantly!
Step 3: Carefully put up the balloon over the bottle, making sure that the Pop Rocks don’t mix up with the soda just yet!
Step 4: carefully put up the balloon so that the Pop Rocks and the Soda are mixed.
Step 5: Watch the balloon inflate on its own while the Pop Rocks and Soda react together!
What Would the Kids Learn Out of it?
Pop Rocks and Soda experiment has a lot to scrunch out from. While you explain to the kids how the balloon got filled up “Magically,” make sure to ask them the following questions:
- Why did the balloon inflate?
- What would happen if you’ve used any regular candy other than Pop Rocks? Would the results be the same if the experiment was performed without the soda?
After you’re done asking them the questions, make sure you brief them about how Pop Rock is different from other candies and how they are “Pressurized.” Explain to them the characteristics of Carbon Dioxide, and why does the experiment only work with “Soda” and not water!