By Rachel Dawson, Education and Support Service Assistant
It’s so important to encourage creativity in children and young people. Time spent being creative can help to advance cognitive skills, stimulating the imagination and providing a channel for expression. It teaches young people to solve problems, using their imagination to make interpretations and strengthen understanding.
Here are my top tips for encouraging creativity:
- Discuss it! Ask children when it is that they feel that they can be creative or express themselves, and how they like to do this. It might not always be when they have a paintbrush in hand! Maybe writing allows them to say how they feel in a way that words don’t, maybe when they’re travelling in the car they get ideas or perhaps it’s when they first wake up. Asking them to think about it might just plant a seed and motivate them to spend more time being creative.
- Support their passion! Young people might become passionate about many different things and for very short periods of time. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with. While it might not be smart to invest funding into short-lived passions, try to get as involved as you can. Show an interest and ask them to teach you about their new hobby or craft.
- Dedicate time to ‘free time.’ Having a structure is important, and can be particularly essential for some children and young people who would struggle without it. If you think it is okay to do so, make sure there are a few hours each week without anything scheduled, where children could turn to creative activities that they enjoy. This might be a little harder with teenagers!
At Team Fostering we have a dedicated Education and Support Service, a package of support designed to promote the best outcomes for children and young people.
This is split into four main areas: Education, Participation, Leaving Care and Placement Support. As part of the Participation support we offer, we run an action packed activities programme throughout the year which includes arts and crafts projects that allow children and young people to let their creative juices flow. This led to Team Fostering’s first ever Art Exhibition in November 2018, in which we showcased the artwork of our children and young people at the wonderful Shotton Hall. We asked for any examples of our young people’s creativity for inclusion in our first ever Team calendar. The entries were judged by a panel of young people, staff and carers. The winners were presented with their prizes at the Art Exhibition.
Foster carers and staff get just as involved in these activities, and that’s just one way in which we support the children and young people in care to be themselves, and to express their creativity.
Team Fostering is a not-for-profit, independent fostering agency that operates across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands. As an ethical agency, any surplus funds gained are reinvested into the services and support that if offered to foster carers, children and young people. As part of this an Education and Support Service is provided for all at the agency to benefit from.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a foster carer with a not-for-profit, Ofsted ‘outstanding’ agency, you can get in touch with us in three ways: