Modern education - not just the 3 Rs

by Caroline Gee. Creative development is as important as the other areas in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Girl looking at plants


Education is no longer merely about being able to read, write and count. Thankfully, schools today have a curriculum that provides a far more rounded approach. Children are naturally creative and inquisitive, and as parents and carers we can help nurture this in our pre-schoolers in lots of fun, exciting and relevant ways.

How CBeebies can help

Have a look at the Show Me Show Me web pages. You and your child are invited to travel to an amazing playroom where presenters Chris and Pui explore the magic of the every day. It’s a special place for stories and adventures. You can click on different parts of the playroom and join in with some of the creative features from the TV programme, e.g. in the video clips you can look up into the sky and go on dream-like journeys where the only limit is your imagination!

How to make a magic moment

Why not help your child put on a show to entertain their family?

Choose a story they know well, such as a fairy tale, and use toys or puppets to act out what happens. A large cardboard box can be converted into an impromptu stage and decorated with paint and pieces of material for the stage curtain.

Perhaps your child can help make posters with you to advertise the show and even rustle up some interval biscuits or other tasty treats to win over the audience!

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Top tips

  • Creativity can take many forms. The child who doesn’t enjoy drawing might be brilliant at constructing 3D models out of building blocks, and a youngster who struggles with team games and competitive sport might blossom when expressing themselves through dance. Find your child’s creative comfort zone and nurture it.Developing a child’s creative skills will help in other areas of the curriculum such as numeracy, literacy and personal and social education as they get older. Creative thinkers often use their ideas to solve problems, or their imagination to help write stories. Children who are in touch with their expressive side are more likely to be able to relate to how other people are feeling and be more empathetic.Creative development is as important as the other areas in the Early Years Foundation Stage. It has equal weighting with Personal, Social & Emotional Development, Communication Language & Literacy, Problem Solving, Reasoning & Numeracy, Knowledge & Understanding of the World and Physical Development. Giving your child plenty of opportunities for being creative is a brilliant way of developing their speaking and listening skills. Children love to talk about what they have created and the experiences they are feeling.

Expert opinion

Creativity is a fundamental human attribute. All young children are creative and will find different ways of expressing their thoughts, ideas and interpretations of the world around them.

To nurture young children’s creativity, it is important to allow them to play with ideas, feel confident to make choices and try things out, respond to creative challenges, experience risky freedom and create and appreciate beauty.

Linda Thornton and Pat Brunton, Early Years consultants, trainers and authors

Parent's tale

My youngest son always struggled with writing, although he had a vivid imagination. This led to a drop in his self-esteem. 

We knew he was a very creative and imaginative child, as demonstrated in his amazing ability to design and create complex structures out of building blocks. We found it helpful to use this strength to boost his achievement in writing. 

We found pictures of Lego characters and helped him create comic strips with them – a great outlet for his imagination and a real reason for writing.

Carrie, from Manchester

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