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

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<ul><li><p>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</p><p>Early Child Development and CarePublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:</p><p>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.</p><p>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</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to orarising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Early Child Development and CareVol. 180, No. 3, April 2010, 377385</p><p>ISSN 0300-4430 print/ISSN 1476-8275 online 2010 Taylor &amp; FrancisDOI: 10.1080/03004430801931196</p><p>Designing movement activities to develop childrens creativity in early childhood education</p><p>Rebecca Hun Ping Cheung*</p><p>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)</p><p>10.1080/03004430801931196Early Childhood Development and Care0300-4430 (print)/1476-8275 (online)Original Article2008Taylor &amp; 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.</p><p>Keywords: creative movement; creative development; early childhood; Hong Kong</p><p>Introduction</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>*Email:</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f B</p><p>rist</p><p>ol] </p><p>at 0</p><p>0:45</p><p> 11 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>378 R.H.P. Cheung</p><p>Creativity and the movement activity</p><p>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?</p><p>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 &amp; Gallahue, 1993; McBride, 1991).</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>Purposes of the study</p><p>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</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f B</p><p>rist</p><p>ol] </p><p>at 0</p><p>0:45</p><p> 11 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Early Child Development and Care 379</p><p>kindergartens and secondly the teachers perceptions of creative movement activity inorder to provide insight into curriculum and instruction.</p><p>Method</p><p>Participants</p><p>The participants were 60 children aged fivesix and three class teachers in three kindergar-tens. Four children were randomly selected from each kindergarten for assessing creativityduring the movement activity; thus 12 children provided focus for this small scale study.</p><p>Procedures</p><p>The design of each movement activity involved four key aspects that provided childrenwith exploration, imagination and creative thinking. The four key aspects were: </p><p>(1) Introduce the theme of the activities. This aspect engages children in makingconnections with previous learning and eliciting their prior experience. Teacherintroduces the theme of the activity and asks the children to express what theyknow about the theme by their body movement. The beginning activities that arerelevant to the childs prior experiences provide opportunities to integrate themovement activity with the rest of the curriculum and assist children in seeingthings from different perspectives. According to Piaget (1963), learning occurswhen new information is attached to prior knowledge. Koestler (1990) suggestedthat creativity is rooted in making connections and creative ideas are generatedthrough connections.</p><p>(2) Acquire and explore movement skills. Pica (2004) suggested that movement activ-ity is concerned with expressive movement and it is important to give childrenpractice and instruction necessary to refine their movement skills and expand theirmovement vocabularies. This aspect engages children in exploring movementskills relevant to the creative task and, through guided instruction, allows them tograsp some basic movement skills and know how to use them.</p><p>(3) Creation and expression. This aspect engages children to find their own way ofresponding to the teachers challenges. Doyle (1998) stressed that creativity is a wayof using mind and body to engage in a task. During the process, ideas, feelings, skillsand knowledge work together in innovative ways. Providing a task for creation andexpression allows the children to think, to imagine, to create and to act, thus in turnto foster creativity.</p><p>(4) Performance and appreciation. This aspect engages children to perform theirmovement sequence for appreciation. It provides opportunity for children to sharetheir ideas and to enjoy the fun of creating. Pica (2004) stressed that when chil-drens own thinking is praised and validated by others, their confidence grows andthey are willing to take greater creative challenges. Therefore, providing opportu-nity for children to experience success is crucial.</p><p>Table 1 shows the teaching contents of the three movement activities.The movement activities were taught by three class teachers who had participated in the</p><p>demonstration classes and a briefing session conducted by the researcher. Each activitylasted about 3040 minutes and all classes were videotaped and reviewed by the researcherto measure the creativity level of the focus children. Torrances (1992) test of creativethinking was modified and employed and four key elements of creative thinking were</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f B</p><p>rist</p><p>ol] </p><p>at 0</p><p>0:45</p><p> 11 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>380 R.H.P. Cheung</p><p>measured: (1) fluency was calculated by numbers of ideas produced; (2) flexibility wascalculated by the variety of ideas produced; (3) originality was calculated by the numberof new, unusual innovative ideas produced; and (4) elaboration was calculated by the abil-ity to fill in details. All measures were scored on a three-point rating scale from 1 (low) to3 (high).</p><p>Semi-structured interviews with the class teachers were conducted after the implemen-tation of the movement activities. Prompting questions were formulated to explore teachersperceptions of childrens creativity. Examples of the questions include: How do you findthe activities encourage creative thinking?; What kinds of idea do the children exhibit inthe activities? All questions were open-ended to provide opportunities for probing ofresponses and follow-up questions.</p><p>Results and discussions</p><p>Childrens creativity</p><p>Descriptive analysis was employed to analyse childrens creativity. Four aspects of chil-drens creative thinking were scored and analysed. Means and standard deviations forfluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration are reported in Table 2. The overall mean</p><p>Table 1. Teaching contents of the three movement activities.</p><p>School/themes</p><p>Aspect 1: Introduce the theme of the activities</p><p>Aspect 2: Acquire and explore movement skills</p><p>Aspect 3: Creation and expression</p><p>Aspect 4: Performance and appreciation</p><p>School 1/swimming Use movement to share different forms of swimming strokes</p><p>Different ways to perform the leg and arm actions of butterfly stroke</p><p>Create swimming strokes of selected animals</p><p>Perform the stroke created by the group</p><p>School 2/water Make different shapes to show big and small water droplets</p><p>Different ways to show the water droplets vaporised and the shapes of cloud</p><p>Create a sequence in group: water droplets vaporisation cloud shape</p><p>Perform the movement sequence created by the group</p><p>School 3/my body Use different body parts to show beautiful postures</p><p>Move freely, make different postures and freeze</p><p>Create a group sculpture by connecting to each other...</p></li></ul>


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