Sometimes you stumble upon a website or resource that’s just so good you have to write an entire blog post about it. I should probably have one about Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child too. Today’s post is all about the Center for Childhood Creativity, the research and advisory division of the Bay Area Discovery Museum located in California (I know I have no right to feel a swell of pride anytime anything great comes from my state of birth, but YOU GO, GIRL).
The Center for Childhood Creativity positions itself as “the missing link between academic research and adults’ work with children ages 0-10.” Did you say academic research? Did you say working with kids? I am all ears folks.
The first resource I want to highlight from them is the Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit which was created specifically for librarians.
In the Reimagining School Readiness Position Paper, they look at over 150 research studies from cognitive and developmental psychology to identify skills and conditions for kids to success in school and later in life. I LOVE that they define “early childhood” as up to age 8. My province, British Columbia, is also re-writing our Early Learning Framework to include this expanded age range. The 6 key findings are clearly presented and they challenge us to change our checklist of things we look for in kids to measure success.
Once you’ve read the position paper, check out the Promising Practices: A Guide for Library Staff. They sort their 6 key findings into three categories and give specific examples of things you can do in a library setting. The three categories are: Talk & Play, Science & Math, Body & Brain.
Also included in the toolkit are case studies, bookmarks, math activities, flyers, and posters. They designed all materials so you can add your own library’s logo!
The CCC also has a plethora of information on how to cultivate creativity. If you want some program inspiration check out their Creativity Catapult and browse through their curated list of research-backed activities for kids ages 2 – 14 years. If you want to dig into the research read their reports: Inspiring a Generation to Create: Critical Components of Creativity in Children and The CREATE Framework: Learning Environments to Develop Creativity.
The first report lays out 7 critical components of creativity in children: Imagination & Originality, Flexibility, Decision Making, Communication & Self-Expression, Motivation, Collaboration, Action & Movement. The second report uses the CREATE acronym to lay out a pedagogical framework for creating experiences that foster creative problem-solving. Both of these are a wonderful planning tool for libraries – think about how they could transform your summer reading programs!
Lastly, I want to draw your attention to two reports that are specific to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Their report called Shared Discoveries: Positive Parent-Child Relationships and Child Development is packed with early literacy tips you can share in storytime, and it also works well as a source for advocating for library programs that allow us to help facilitate these relationships. Secondly, for those of you deep in the world of STEM learning, they have a report called The Roots of STEM Success: Changing Early Learning Experiences to Build Lifelong Thinking Skills which presents 6 key findings for harnessing STEM abilities in the early years and using it to promote lifelong learning.
Whew, are you feeling the research bug yet? Grab me a pen and highlighter and I am ready to go!
Have you come across any amazing resources that inform your work as a children’s librarian? I’d love to learn about them!