We all know how important creativity is for your brain. Even the most logical of minds need an element of imagination to develop their ideas and strategies.
Creativity is especially important for children as it aids in their development, increasing their motor neurone skills, their social interaction skills and even their problem-solving skills .
Creativity is also very important for adolescents and research shows that mental health and creativity for teenagers go hand in hand, it helps teens find their identity and establish their own beliefs and path in the world, resulting in less anxiety and more happiness .
Many ways to create learning environments that facilitate creativity don’t have to be drastic changes and won’t affect the curriculum.
Create different zones
The easiest way to encourage creativity is to create different zones within a space, whether that be within one or several of the rooms that are for each year group.
For Primary and Nursery schools it is easiest to create a space that can be effortlessly reconfigured such as opting for tables and chairs with wheels that can be moved from one area to another. For smaller spaces, tables that tilt would be useful as they can be pushed up against walls to create space for group activities and performances. Larger rooms are slightly easier as they may not need reconfiguration as long as there are designated zones for specific activities, such as a reading zone, an art zone and a play zone, alongside the learning section.
Spaces for Secondary years and Sixth Form’s should be designed to be multi-use areas with different rooms for various activities such as an eating area/café and lounge space, study sections alongside the library, and a common room for a bit of both studying and socialising.
Talk the Talk
Students being able to discuss subjects with their peers assists in developing ideas from several different perspectives, especially when it comes to problem solving.
Every child or young adult will approach problems from different perspectives, by opening a line of communication between them it shows students how one problem can be handled in a multitude of different ways. This helps train their minds to tackle obstacles from different angles and is a skill that will aid them for the rest of their lives.
The layout of the space can encourage students to discuss more openly within a lesson, tables placed for groups of 4 or more or placing all the tables in the room to create a ‘U-shape’ where students face each other, allows for high levels of collaboration. Layouts that place students in a line facing the front are not as good for talking between one another.
Colours play a very important role in learning and can even trick our brains into feeling a certain way. The last thing you want in your school is teaching rooms that are drab and colourless as these create very uninspiring learning environments.
Warm colours are fantastic in creating happy, inspiring environments to encourage innovation and the colour yellow encourages creativity the most. Orange is a close runner up and lifts the mood of learners, which promotes comfort and improves neural functioning.
Although cooler colours might not aid creativity as much, they can be brilliant in creating more relaxed atmospheres, blue has been shown to increase productivity and green also creates a calming atmosphere and is commonly used for rooms where students with learning difficulties are taught.
Of course, all colours should be used in moderation and not have too much of one shade in the space or risk students feeling overstimulated (too much orange) or feeling detached (too much dark blue). .
Allow time each day or week for independent projects
Setting some time aside for the children to develop and create independent projects will give them the opportunity to grow their inventive side. The project could be anything they wish (within reason) such as an art project or even solving a maths problem they have been stuck on. These sessions can prove to be invaluable in developing creativity as it allows them to have freedom to take risks with new ideas and express themselves in a safe environment free from judgement .
If you feel that the students are too young for independent projects, opting for projects in smaller groups will also work, as long as what they do gives them freedom to express themselves and their ideas.
Creativity is a fantastic way to develop life skills across all ages, even us adults could use a boost of it every now and again! Here are some of our projects that have used these elements in their design to create fantastic learning spaces.