designing movement activities to develop children's creativity in early childhood education

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Bristol]On: 11 November 2014, At: 00:45Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Early Child Development and CarePublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/gecd20

    Designing movement activities todevelop children's creativity in earlychildhood educationRebecca Hun Ping Cheung aa Department of Early Childhood Education , Hong Kong Instituteof Education , Tai Po, Hong KongPublished online: 20 Feb 2008.

    To cite this article: Rebecca Hun Ping Cheung (2010) Designing movement activities to developchildren's creativity in early childhood education, Early Child Development and Care, 180:3,377-385, DOI: 10.1080/03004430801931196

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  • Early Child Development and CareVol. 180, No. 3, April 2010, 377385

    ISSN 0300-4430 print/ISSN 1476-8275 online 2010 Taylor & FrancisDOI: 10.1080/03004430801931196http://www.informaworld.com

    Designing movement activities to develop childrens creativity in early childhood education

    Rebecca Hun Ping Cheung*

    Department of Early Childhood Education, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Tai Po, Hong KongTaylor and Francis LtdGECD_A_293285.sgm(Final version received 21 January 2008)

    10.1080/03004430801931196Early Childhood Development and Care0300-4430 (print)/1476-8275 (online)Original Article2008Taylor & Francis000000002008 This article describes the introduction of creative movement activity in three HongKong kindergartens to promote childrens creativity. The purposes of the study wereto examine the effectiveness of creative movement activity in promoting childrenscreativity and teachers perceptions of the activities. The movement activities weredesigned based on four aspects: (1) introduce the theme; (2) acquire and explore ofmovement skills; (3) creation and expression; and (4) performance and appreciation.The participants were 12 children and three class teachers. Torrances test of creativethinking including fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration was employed tomeasure childrens creativity and teachers perceptions of creative movement activityprovided insights into factors that influenced childrens creativity. Results showedthat childrens movement responses became more varied and always gave surprise tothe teachers but limited knowledge, skills and experiences of teachers seemed to be achallenge of Hong Kong kindergarten teachers to foster childrens creativity.

    Keywords: creative movement; creative development; early childhood; Hong Kong

    Introduction

    In 2006, the Hong Kong Education and Manpower Bureau introduced the new curricu-lum guide for pre-primary institutions serving children aged from two to six. One of thecurriculum goals is: to stimulate childrens creative and imaginative power, and encour-age children to enjoy participating in creative works (The Curriculum DevelopmentCouncil, 2006, p. 20). It is quite clear that creativity is increasingly gaining recognition asan important aspect in the early childhood curriculum and developing creativity ofchildren is now a major concern of the curriculum.

    Physical activity is identified as one of the primary learning domains of pre-school inHong Kong. However, daily physical activity usually emphasises the physical domainalone. Children are taught by demonstration and practice, and this approach has been usedin kindergartens for generations. Obviously, this kind of physical activity programmecannot achieve the curriculum goals for creative development. If the physical activityprogramme is to play a role in addressing creative development, it is critically important toadd creative components into teaching content and to consider a more child-centredapproach. This article describes the introduction of creative movement activity in threeHong Kong kindergartens to replace much of the structure and drill of traditional physicalactivity, experiencing how these creative movement activities promote childrenscreativity.

    *Email: rcheung@ied.edu.hk

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  • 378 R.H.P. Cheung

    Creativity and the movement activity

    Gardner (1993) reported that every child is born with creative potential and the agesbetween three and five are the critical years for the development of creativity. Adults areoften amazed by the unique ways in which children express their imagination but childrenusually need a teachers support to find the means and the confidence to bring out theirideas. How can physical activity be developed to best support childrens emergingcreativity?

    Movement activity can be a powerful tool to promote childrens creativity. Many earlychildhood educators recognise that children are competent to express themselves throughmovement activity and there are many movement components that can be used to developcreativity. Capel (1986) indicated that movement activities provide children with theopportunity to move and to create. Many research findings also support the view that motordevelopment and creativity are interrelated and that one area of development connects tothe other (Cleland & Gallahue, 1993; McBride, 1991).

    Pica (2004) characterised movement activity as a success-oriented, child-centred, non-competitive form of physical activity emphasising fundamental movements and thediscovery of their variation. Therefore, movement activity should not be designed forimitation or the right way to do the skills as this does nothing to promote creativity. Rather,movement should encourage children to experience, to discover and to learn by doing.Lloyd (1998) suggested that movement is a form of self-expression which uses the bodymovement to express ideas, minds and emotions. Gilbert (1992) also described creativemovement as being a joyful way for children to explore movement and to stimulate imagi-nation and promote creativity. Movement activity should allow children to use bodyactions to communicate an image, an idea or a feeling. Therefore, the activities should bedesigned to provide opportunity for children to use their own body movement to expressand communicate.

    Chan (1995) pointed out that creativity involves receiving information, choosing infor-mation and the ability to interpret information. Therefore, movement activities should notbe designed to emphasise movement skills. Rather, through skill exploration, activitiesshould encourage children to grasp some basic movement skills, know how to use them,and then provide activities for them to create their own interpretation of an image, an ideaor a feeling, thus in turn developing imagination and creativity.

    Purposes of the study

    Visual art is not the only domain for creativity. A movement activity that emphasises diver-gent thinking, imagination and self-expression also makes a substantial contribution to thedevelopment of creativity. Pica (2004) suggested that creative movement is an excellentmedium for establishing a relationship between mind and body which is critical to unleash-ing creativity. In Hong Kong, few studies have addressed creative movement in kindergar-tens. This study was designed to introduce creative teaching strategies into physical activityand to explore how the design of movement activity contributes to the development ofcreativity in children. A series of movement activities was designed for this study andimplemented to promote childrens creativity. The principle for the design did not empha-sise how to teach skills, but how the teacher could act as a guide in accumulating experiencefor children, helping the children to use their own body languages and self-expressionthrough imagination and creation. The purposes of the study were to examine firstly theeffectiveness of movement activity in promoting childrens creativity in Hong Kong

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