No longer content with rote teaching, educators are constantly searching for new ideas to motivate children and improve the learning process. Teaching primary grades by varying activities to allow all children to participate is now a major approach in the creative curriculum. Using multidisciplinary methods to develop creative ideas may also serve that purpose.
A creative curriculum is designed to find learning experiences that inspire children. This program should consist of combining art, music, dance and drama with educational lessons. Creative writing also allows for individual differences and expression, and is widely used. Social studies projects and science charts also work well.
Types of Creative Curriculum
The use of themes is one way to approach the creative curriculum. Use "Pirates" as a theme and focus all learning on it. This can include reading adventure stories or learning pirate songs. Artwork dealing with pirates, doing research on piracy in history and writing imaginary stories about pirates can become a project of several weeks or a semester at the discretion of the teacher. A dinosaur project is another successful creative activity that can cover a semester's work. Students can decorate the room as a museum, do research on dinosaurs, create folders of their findings, make fossils, paint posters and write and present a play for parents.
However, any creative activity can work. PS 175, an elementary school in New York, held a concert on a restored piano and invited local dignitaries to attend. It was the culminating activity of months of preparation called, "Our Piano Comes Alive." Someone had donated an old, dirty piano to the school. The students cleaned, sanded and painted the piano. They made a video which they showed at the concert. It told of the valuable lessons they had learnt and how music opened the doors to learning. They studied the history of the piano and learnt how to work together for a creative project.
Consider using holidays as part of a creative curriculum so children can learn about different cultures and their customs. Holiday foods can be brought in by parents for a class party. Children can visit places of worship and learn about the particular holiday. This unit can last a few days to coincide with the holiday.
The major benefit of a creative curriculum is that it excites students in regard to learning through the creation of memorable experiences. When given learning choices, children can study various areas of learning in accordance with their personal interests and abilities. They can select which activities they enjoy.
As a result of these benefits, implementation of this curriculum is suggested since children thrive on having this form of freedom and using their imagination as opposed to concentrating in one area in one textbook. They look forward to participating in the creative activities, which is the objective of this curriculum.
Drawbacks to the program include the cost since multiple materials are needed for most projects. Not all teachers feel comfortable with creative work; some prefer the older method of using one text per subject and using the same lesson plans each year. This is easier than adapting to the creative program. Some teachers may feel it takes longer to prepare creative lessons while others may feel it is advantageous to concentrate on specific skills rather than a variety simultaneously.