SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting

October 2015

How Creative Confidence can help your Child

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” – Henry Ford

Have you ever wondered why your child seems to do badly at creative writing even though he has tuition classes to help him excel in the subject? Think again.

Could your child be lacking in the area of creative thinking? Besides language ability, thinking process is also involved in the task of creative writing. We commonly think that being creative means being different and original. But it goes beyond that, and the journey to learning to think creatively starts early. Most importantly, this will lead to a much-valued skill in your child’s later years — the ability to problems effectively!

Paper Culture does not help

Our culture places much emphasis on paper qualifications. Children are fed with the need to do well in pen and paper tests from the time they start school. Scoring well in exams matters more than understanding, questioning, and creating. Ultimately, they become overly attached to ticking the boxes instead of exploring and thinking. There is little emphasis, if any, on learning how to work with others.

In most schools, children engage in a rather narrow form of collaboration. They find someone who thinks like them, and work together. Schools do not teach kids to really dig deep to understand another person. The end result? Children don’t understand other people really well.

True, everyone is driven by the need to get good grades. They believe that this will make them more attractive in the job market. However, we vastly overestimate the value of grades in the job market. In fact, I think that very few companies actually pay meaningful attention to grades.

I think it has more to do with appropriate dress, speaking in a manner that can be readily understood by the listener, being able to empathize, being able to solve problems creatively, being a visionary to foresee problems, an ability to hold a conversation and look a person in the eye. I think all these factors dramatically outweigh grades.

Going Beyond the Academic

We used to live in the world where knowledge is king. That is passé now. All we have to do is Google! We have become less focused on the ‘what’ and more focused on the ‘how’. For our children to thrive in this new economy, they need to be able to create innovative breakthroughs by integrating ideas from diverse fields to meet complex human needs.

Beyond the usual academic curriculum, we as parents should prepare our kids to have a creative mindset and develop them to cope with the complexities of their future, in work or in making life decisions.

This is why Happiness Makers has designed the Creative Confidence Workshop for children aged nine to 14 years of age. Developed using Design Thinking techniques, the workshop is about how a person thinks and not what he knows; it is about the journey and not the destination.

The programme allows kids space to make mistakes and generate ideas through activities that allow them to observe, imagine, make and improve. In the process of these activities, the kids see for themselves what works, what does not, and think of ways to improve things.

Develop your child’s Creative Confidence

Here’s a project that you can try at home with your child.

1. Arm your child with a notebook and a pen. Go out to your neighborhood. Get your child to talk to the people in your community. Ask them what issues matter to them and gain their perspective on these issues. Find out how they live their lives. Discover those needs that are not met.

2. When you get back home, discuss and interpret what your child has discovered in the process of doing this.

3. Ideate. Brainstorm. Remember the rules: Defer Judgment. Encourage Wild Ideas. Build Upon Ideas Of Others. Be Visual.

4. Prototype it. Physically make a real-world version of the idea with whatever materials you have have around you. Then go out again and test it with the people in your community. What works? Why? What doesn’t? Why?

Your children will figure a lot out just by experimenting. Let them fail and learn from failure. As Thomas Edison once said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

All images: Happiness Makers. This article was contributed by Happiness Makers, which conducts creative confidence workshops for children from nine to 14 years of age. The founder of the programme is a passionate designer and lecturer at a local institution who has a track record in using creative confidence to solve difficult problems. He has designed and written curriculum for schools. This programme has been well received by the homeschooling kids community and highly subscribed by top schools. Check the website for its December holiday workshop schedule (out by end Oct 2015).

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How Creative Confidence can help your Child