How Creative Play Nurtures Children’s Leadership Mindset
“Why would I want my child to be a leader? Why would I want my students to be leaders?”
If this is your first reaction to the heading, then you might be missing out on the deeper meaning of the word leader.
Leadership is often misunderstood with being bold, arrogant, self-centred or needy to be in the centre of attention. Actually, it’s very far from the truth.
So, who is a leader? And why would you want your child to become one?
A TRUE leader is someone who:
- is confident about who they really are because they know themselves,
- inspires others with his/her gifts and talents because they recognise them,
- is trusted because they can trust themselves,
- can express themselves to the world easily and effortlessly because they don’t feel afraid to do this,
- celebrates other people for their talents and leads/ inspires/ listens/ guides/ people to share their gifts with the world,
- is ready to make a change to the world no matter how small or big,
- and leads a happy and fulfilling life that is true to their nature.
So, as you can see a Leader is actually someone very positive and highly evolved as a human being. Why wouldn’t we want to nurture our children’s leadership mindset then? We all most certainly should if we really want to help our children reach their full potential.
Here’s a few ways how creative play nurtures the leadership mindset:
- Creative play allows your child to express themselves they way they like and prefer in the very moment.
- Your child can explore their inner gifts, talents and preferences, experiment with them and deciding how they can make best use of them in the real world.
- Creative exploration opens up the whole world of possibilities which your child can flexibly test, reflect on and improve until they are satisfied with the final result.
- While creating your child develops great confidence in their own skills and talents.
- Creative play allows plenty of space for celebration of your child’s own individuality.
To be honest with you, every play is creative when it’s Child-Led.
Children create all the time and creative play is not restricted to Arts & Crafts only. It goes far beyond that. Construction is creative, discussion is creative, dancing is creative, gardening is creative, role-play is creative…
To really nurture child’s leadership mindset, any creative experience must always be Child-Led.
Otherwise the creativity aspect will most likely be controlled, restricted, and shaped towards a certain direction or agenda-driven.
Child-Led means that your child is the author of the experience – they can take it wherever they want it and however they want it.
This also means that you as a parent/educator are a facilitator of that experience, offering child-friendly and safe space and access to tools and resources. But you don’t impose any structure, any outcome, any result. You allow your child/student to experience whatever they wish and need at that moment. And by doing this we show them that we trust them, that we celebrate who they are, and that whatever they offer to the world is wonderful and it doesn’t need to be changed or modified to our liking.
You can learn more about Child-Led learning and what it takes to incorporate it in your setting in this F-R-E-E online course for early years educators “Nurturing Children’s Natural Leadership Skills in Early Childhood Education”