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What is creativity? Part 1
Eleen Polson

Part 1:  What is creativity?

We are living in unprecedented times with ever increasing demands, higher life expectancy and more resources at our finger-tips than ever before.  Creativity is spearheading this evolution in technology and commerce yet creativity in education has been marginalised in favour of the more logical subjects like maths and languages (the three R’s).  Let’s share a few thoughts on Creativity.   

Children are creative, right?

According to a national study by Kobus Neethling in 2005, most young children see themselves as creative and exhibit a superior level of creative behaviour. However, this decreases dramatically over time.

According to Neethling, this is mainly due to people not being encouraged to express their creativity at home, at school and later in the workplace; they no longer see themselves as creative and therefore do not engage in creative activities. 

What is creativity?  

Although the arts (singing, dancing, painting, acting) initially come to mind when thinking about creativity, it is much more than that.  Creativity is needed in every aspect of our lives to explore and find solutions to challenges and demands which make life fulfilling and worth living. Creativity is creating order out of chaos. We are made in the Creator’s image, and by being creative we live out our birth-right.  When we lack creativity we feel frustrated, lack energy and motivation.  When we are creative we feel alive and fulfilled. 

Looking at academic assessments which measure creative thinking (the Torrance assessments) these include several parameters like story telling ability,  emotional expressiveness, visualisation, humour etc.   

The little child looking out of the window, getting lost in their own fantasy world, might be the most creative soul in the class.  The story teller or the joker who is always talking, might be the most expressive person.

Other tests cover ‘everyday creativity’. These examine activities like dressing, cooking, gardening, hobbies and even how one commutes to work.

If we think about creativity in this way, we immediately realise that we are all creative. This is reassuring and inspiring, allowing us to discover and develop this God given ability. Creativity enhances our lives and those around us.

Part 2, explores creativity and how to cultivate it in our day to day lives.

Playing together towards integrated wellbeing and mental health.


Eleen Polson, Expressive Arts Therapist, www.creativelearning4life.com, 0722121719.

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