Creativity Belongs to Children
When very young children start playing, with toys or with crayons, they listen to and trust themselves. They eagerly follow their instincts and their urge to explore the immense world in which they have just arrived. They seem to flow with the inner current of their creativity, and with amazing freedom. Adults love to watch the ease and enjoyment children have in inventing, and we marvel at the direct contact they have with creation.
When coming from a pure place, children create only for the sake of play and for the thrill of inventing, never for a projected result. They create from the center of their being, an authentic place, unpolluted, unconditioned, a place that does not suffer any influences or any limitations of form or content. I call that place Point Zero; in it, the doing is all that matters. Point Zero, the source of creation, holds immense potential in all children; it is fully alive and present from the beginning.
Born from Point Zero, the creative force offers a marvelous tool for children to fulfill their need to express themselves, to grow and to explore their world. Soon, however, through classes or criticisms, the notion of good and bad product is introduced into children's lives. That notion generates a separation and a struggle between them and their creative play. When this middle step is interposed with its expectations, children are pressured into following rules and blueprints instead of their intuition. The true source of creation is abandoned and creative passion is lost. The connection with Point Zero is broken, and creativity becomes a mental activity; the children start to struggle for inspiration, and the pressure for achievement starts.
Creativity does not dwell just in the mystery; it is also very practical. When children learn to listen to themselves through creativity, they also learn to think for themselves and trust their feelings. Intuition is a wise, strong, and authentic voice that guides children to trust and express themselves. Intuition is the moving force of creativity; it is the fuel that maintains inspiration and brings about self-expression. Through the use of intuition, children become self-reliant; self-esteem and self-confidence develop, which enhance the way they respond to the world.
Children must discover that what they need to create is already inside them: an unlimited potential of play and inspiration. They must discover that they do not need to be taught everything and that creativity is a place without limits. The belief that they need models and instruction to create makes them dependent and uncertain about who they are and what they feel.
This is when parents, teachers, and other adults have a role to play. They can help preserve that endless source of passion in which children can explore anything about their world and their dreams without fear.
It is a great gift to children to show them how to use and respect their spontaneous intuition and to have them discover the magical surprises of creativity: a creativity that comes from a pure intimate source, from Point Zero deep in themselves.
The Point Zero Method
The Point Zero method is designed to free children from their fear to create and to fulfill their creative potential. The method addresses every aspect of children's fears and apprehensions, and encourages them to find inspiration and answers within themselves. It deals with the whole person; it can bring struggling or uncreative children back to themselves and into their lives and feelings.
Children feel great pressure from demands and expectations to perform, and that pressure prevents the full working of their intuition. To meet their creative power, children need freedom in a structured and ordered environment that welcomes and understands the mystery and playfulness of creativity. In such a magical context, they develop the capacity to reach the source of their intuition - Point Zero - and they learn to use it to create. With room to be spontaneous, they discover how to truly invent and develop authenticity and uniqueness in their work. They learn how to express themselves and explore their world using heartfelt energy.
When creativity is approached in the traditional way, making art requires special talent and aims at producing a masterpiece. That approach might develop some technique, but it does not work for the child's benefit. In it children must follow rules and create realistic images; creativity then is another subject to be learned with its demands and limitations, and they find in it very little freedom to invent, dream, and express. Parents often choose that approach because they can relate to realistic images and believe they see progress as the child learns practical techniques like perspective and texture. Unfortunately, that approach will pull children away from their creative inspiration, because in it their spontaneity and intuition are barely used. The work is more oriented toward achieving than inventing. Creation becomes about acquiring a skill and is done within the pressures of success and failure. When art is taught this way, children create from their head, deciding and planning every move, always thinking of the outcome. No wonder so many children become discouraged! Very little room is given to their originality and creative potential. The sense of joy and adventure disappears, as well as the precious possibility of self-expression.
However, if creativity is approached as a means to expressing feelings, then making art requires spontaneity and freedom. Pure creativity and self-expression go together. When children are free to follow their hearts in creation, they spontaneously express themselves. Feelings and emotions are stored inside the heart, but as soon as they are allowed to come out, they eagerly do. In spontaneous creation it happens automatically, as if feelings had been impatiently waiting for that opportunity. In a safe context, intuition flows and children let their feelings take the shapes and colors needed at the moment. The power and intelligence of creativity are such that it expresses what is most needed. Creativity brings balance and harmony in the lives of the young painters, relieves the pressures of growing up, and allows intuition to be an active power in life.
By offering children a conducive context to create, we help them find the source of their creativity. We need to keep in mind that intuition and spontaneity are the catalysts that put creativity in motion. We can guide children toward themselves by respecting the basic Point Zero creative principles:
- Creating for process, not product
- Using intuition and spontaneity as the fuel and fire of creation
- Banning criticism and evaluation as damaging to the child
- Creates a context of safety
- Removes the pressure of performing
- Offers creative adventure and process
- Encourages spontaneous self-expression
- Inspires self-reliance at all times
- Respects each child's peculiar needs
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From Kids Play: Igniting Children's Creativity by Michele Cassou. Copyright © 2004 by Michele Casso. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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