Often people consider creativity at the bottom of a list of skills that young children need to have to be successful in school. We tend to think more of their ability to know letters, numbers, writing counting and so forth. But creativity plays a large role in a young child’s development, and is not a “special” skill as many believe. Children are born with a natural curiosity about the world around them. As they grow, they display their imagination and self expression through play. It is vital we don’t squash this curiosity! It helps children try new activities, keeps their minds open to new ideas and experiences and to make connections. Indeed, creativity is a baseline skill necessary for normal human development. When a child’s natural instincts are suppressed, they can become fearful and reluctant to try. Creativity abounds in a play based classroom, helping each area of development. The children are free to build, paint, draw, color, sing, dance and experience sensory play. As they engage in these activities, vital brain development is occurring. If you think of creative play as the foundation to future learning, then you have the right idea! Children NEED to think outside the box, it can’t just be facts and data that occupies their minds, they must dream, experiment, try! if they fail, then let’s think about what we can do differently next time. And as time goes on, the “other skills”, such letters, numbers and writing come forth naturally. There is no need to worry about if they are “ready” because they will be in their own way and in their own time. Take time to observe the children in your life. Are they curious? Do they ask millions of questions? Do they make messes? Are they happy at play? I hope the answers are a solid yes!