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      • 9/3/15 Listen to art at the Bay Area Discovery Museum with new Artist-in-Residence Marco Pinter
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      • 4/9/15 Resource Fair to Connect Under-Resourced Families with Community Partners and Celebrate School Readiness
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      • 3/31/15 Latest Findings Reported on How to Inspire Creativity in Children
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      • 2/12/15 Creativity Forum 2015 Features Best-Selling Authors, Daniel Pink and Tony Wagner
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      • 11/6/14 Family Classes Ignite Creativity
      • 1/3/12 Bay Area Discovery Museum Announces New Leadership
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Latest Findings Reported on How to Inspire Creativity in Children


The Center for Childhood Creativity introduces a new framework for understanding and stimulating creativity in children ages 6-14  

Oklahoma and San Francisco—March 31, 2015—The Center for Childhood Creativity (CCC), based at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in the San Francisco Bay Area, will release its white paper, Inspiring a Generation to Create: Critical Components of Creativity in Children, today at the Creativity World Forum. The paper, published with generous support from Disney Citizenship, will be introduced by the CCC during an afternoon workshop, scheduled at 2:55 pm.

After a research analysis investigating over 100 academic studies from the past 50 years—across the fields of cognitive and developmental psychology, neuroscience, education and business management—Inspiring a Generation outlines a bold new framework to guide how to inspire creativity in children, ages 6-14. It identifies key cognitive, social and emotional, and physical childhood development characteristics that are essential for creative growth. The paper dispels the image of a creative individual as a lone tinkerer in a lab; creativity is a collective pursuit and should be cultivated by parents and educators at an early age.

The report identifies two action areas for boosting the creative potential of children:

Creativity can be taught

Inspiring a Generation to Create challenges our assumptions about how creativity is taught: it proposes that creativity is not an elusive talent but can be intentional, and therefore learned, especially in a supporting environment. Research shows us that children are innately creative, as demonstrated by imaginative and pretend play. This original and authentic thinking can lead to later flexibility—synthesizing new and old experiences—and quality decision-making. According to the paper, this is especially important to cultivate in order to sustain creativity through the “fourth grade slump” when children become more susceptible to peer pressure and conventional thinking. In addition to preserving play and exploration, the paper reinforces the importance of balancing structured and unstructured activities, allowing space for individual and personal expression, “It’s important to strike a good balance, to avoid giving up imaginative capacity completely and to continue to play, at least cognitively, throughout our lives,” shared Mark Runco, Ph.D., an academic advisor to the CCC.

Environments need to spark the imagination

The paper underscores the important role of teachers and parents in establishing supportive environments that encourage creative exploration as well as risk-taking. Inspiring a Generation points to several studies that demonstrate how explicit instructions from teachers can guide children to become more flexible and original, therefore intentionally creative, helping to overcome hurdles and develop resilience. The paper also illustrates the link between creativity and self-efficacy, or internalized confidence; teachers can be very influential in stimulating creativity by encouraging a growth mindset. By praising a child’s efforts, teachers and parents alike are instilling in children an intrinsic motivation for learning and building confidence. The classroom is one opportunity, the paper cites, where collaboration should be encouraged, as it too is an important learned skill that is often not emphasized enough, yet can lead to the generation of new ideas. Outside the classroom, children should have the opportunity to continue to collaborate and communicate through physical activity, which has been linked to improved self-esteem and improved creative insight.

“Teaching creativity shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be an integral part of every child’s education. Inspiring a Generation is a terrifically important resource for all of us who care about kids reaching their creative potential. The research gathered here shows that we can avoid the drop in original thinking that happens as students move into early adolescence. And the paper’s practical advice will help teachers and parents prepare our children to become tomorrow’s innovators,” says Dan Pink, author of Drive, A Whole New Mind, and To Sell Is Human.

Inspiring a Generation provides academic context, diagrams and hands-on activities to foster ingenuity and inventiveness for children. Specifically, the paper proposes seven critical components to creativity, organized across three childhood developmental areas—cognitive, social and emotional, and physical: imagination & originality; flexibility; decision-making (cognitive); communication & self-expression; motivation; collaboration (social and emotional); and action & movement (physical). This research challenges conventional wisdom that creativity is an inborn talent and shares how teachers, parents and those interested in positive child development can help nurture creative potential.

To download Inspiring a Generation to Create: Critical Components of Creativity in Children, the new framework, and the Executive Summary, please visit:

The Center for Childhood Creativity (CCC) is a research and advisory group that champions creativity as a critical, teachable skill. Established in 2011, the CCC provides tools and training for teachers and schools, helps parents advocate for their own children’s creativity and gives thought leaders a forum for sharing and advancing early childhood research. The Center for Childhood Creativity is a program of the Bay Area Discovery Museum, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum works to give one million children annually a strong start in life by igniting and advancing creative thinking for all children.

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