Updated: Apr 17
If there is one thing that Covid-19 has given us, it's the opportunity to engage and collaborate with our children. We spend so much time wishing we had more time. Well now is our time. Our time to slow down, our time to learn together, our time to invest in more than just our day to day life. Finding the positives in a global pandemic is vital and is resulting in some truly inspirational results. Take Run for Heros: 5k Challenge started by Olivia Strong from Edinburgh. After only 24 hours from her first post, the total money raised was sitting around the £8,000 mark. #ClapforCarers took place on Thursday 26th March with an incredible level of success and images that will remain with us long after this pandemic have started to circulate with growing force as the weeks go on.
Parent groups and school communities have come together to support children and their well-being during this uncertain time, recognising that social interaction is key. However, due to lock down rules and regulations parents and carers have had to get creative. This is where a creative curriculum approach at home is fantastic.
There is no set definition of a ‘creative curriculum’. For some schools, having a creative curriculum means studying topics or themes. It can also be about asking pupils what they want to learn. Using this time we have to ask your children what they want to learn is an opportunity we shouldn't let pass us by. Children are sponges when it comes to knowledge. They absorb facts and information that they are interested in quicker than red wine into your best white top. I see it in my class continuously and luckily for the children I teach and myself as a teacher, we are able to learn with interests at the center but for many, the demands of the curriculum take a higher stance and creativity comes as a secondary thought.
Here are some tips that you can use at home that could support you with your creative curriculum approach:
1. Ask your child what they'd like to learn about.
Many people think they know what their children are interested in, but this can be different to what they actually want to learn about. Children are naturally interested in the world around them so catching their questions is a great way to lead learning. There are some great science experiments on ThoughtCo you can do with essential items that are usually in the cupboards- great for sparking the 'why' or 'I wonder.'
2. Grow your own.
The best thing about growing your own is it opens lots of opportunities to observe, draw, smell, cook, write and best of all, you don't have to have bundles of space. Assess the space you do have, the levels of sunlight and then get creative. Plants can grow in recycled containers, can hang, be stacked, potted, take space on window ledges and balconies. Pinterest is always ace for inspiration, or ask the children! They are such fantastic problem solvers!
3. Find purpose.
A lot of learning can take place with compliant children, but finding a purpose can engage every child if they feel there is a benefit. How about trying a fund raising activity or an enterprise project? It's great for engaging older children. Start with perhaps £5 and decide together how you could grow that to make more money to donate. For example, bake or make and leave out for donations (some great ideas can be found here). Set yourselves a target. Contact businesses, spread the word using social media together safely and donate your final amount to a cause of your choice. Every little helps!
4. Get creative with structure.
Sometimes children prefer structure. It can help focus, expectations, maintain rules and routines so if you'd like to stick to a more 'traditional' approach to your learning at home, why not just mix up the activities that you do together? Both Nrich and the NCETM have excellent home learning Maths support and general ideas to get creative with your home schooling. Nrich is primarily focused on application of skills (e.g. your child understands 2D shape, Nrich will give you an activity in which you can apply or investigate something such as the example here).
Hopefully these tips give you a good place to start together at home. Be open minded, try new things together and enjoy the opportunity that time is giving us all.