Alike: A Short Film to Reflect on How Children’s Creativity Disappears
Alike is a simple, quick and endearing short film. In less than 8 minutes, it shows, in a graphic and lively wa,y how we break the creativity in our youngsters. We do so every day, gesture by gesture, word by word, and absence by absence.
In turn, this story offers us a good example of how we can help our children survive that trauma called “formal education”. Notecards and more notecards, corrections and frowns on homework… All of this is useful to a certain extent, but we must make sure that we aren’t diminishing their creative skills with these actions.
“This is the right answer.” “This isn’t logical.” “Being wrong is embarrassing.” “Playing around is a waste of time.” These are ideas that carry around in our heads. It’s because, as little kids, we were taught to rewrite our most creative answers. Unfortunately, because they didn’t fit into a super structured system.
Instead of teaching them how to get the right answer quickly, we should teach children to not set limits for themselves. To not toss away ideas that blossom in their minds without really analyzing them. This is what’s ideal in order to educate them on creativity.
Before a child loses their color or even more so if we notice that they are already losing it, we as adults have the responsibility of illuminating their life and making their gaze colorful again.
The relationship one has with children has to contain laughter, adventures and craziness. We have to talk “gibberish”, about “investigations”, and “exploring imaginary worlds”. We must converse about making shapes out of shadows, performing scientific experiments, telling stories backwards….
We have to help them manage the lights and shadows of their minds, the bubbling of their emotions and the melody of their thoughts. We shouldn’t clip their wings, because without them they cannot let their minds fly. And that is the foundation of their growth.
What Alike teaches us is that intelligence is developed through our thoughts. Through them, new possibilities are awakened. Creativity awakens and decision-making abilities are developed…
Tips to promote creativity in children
As we can see in Alike, people start losing their color by facing routines, excessive workloads and a world that is “much too structured”. For these reasons we have to keep in mind that children need these 7 things to develop their creativity:
1. Making mistakes
One of the biggest obstacles that creativity faces is precisely the fear we have of making mistakes. If we instead understand our errors as a source of growth from an early age, fear wouldn’t exist. At least, it wouldn’t be so intense so as to limit our thoughts.
2. Getting bored and feeling frustrated
A child that feels bored (and frustrated by that boredom) is the biggest source of imagination that exists in this world. It’s incredible how something suddenly makes a connection and a spark of creativity jumps.
3. Thinking in a foolish manner
Freedom of expression starts with freedom of thought. Kids are very grateful for being able to say what they think and simply bursting out into laughter over something absurd. And…what is more gratifying than spending a good while laughing out loud? Furthermore, remember that the best education starts through examples. So it is great to frequently establish foolish conversations with them.
4. Working as a team
As people tend to say, maybe if we travel alone we will get there quicker, but if we travel with more people, we will get further. Children love to share moments with other kids and other adults. So, they truly enjoy working in a team. That way, children will learn to nourish themselves from others, and they will be sure that they are also an excellent source of knowledge.
Like with food, toys and rocks… Far from what adults tend to believe, anything can serve as a way to experiment and create new worlds! That’s why the best material gift for a child is a cardboard box and a stick. The simplest things are the most enriching.
6 Talking about real problems… and imaginary ones
Talking about real and imaginary problems will help them create solutions. There is nothing that excites a child more than having a big idea. They love noticing that the control of their world is also within their own hands.
In seventh place and as foundation for all of the other previous points, we have to state firmly that children need to PLAY. At all times and with everything and anything they can get their hands on. This is the only way they learn numerous games and that every type of game needs for them to let their imagination fly. Games are a beautiful tool that will help them make their emotions bubble and be the very architects of their lives.