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Chapter 11: Using Work Samples to Look at Creativity 

Fact: Reflection: 
11-1(Using Work Samples to Observe a  Everything a child does can tell us 
Child’s Development)  something about their development.  
❖ The creative products of the child   
can be used as effective revelations   
of developmental progress.    
➢ Media: ​art materials    
➢ Individual children and   
groups produce work that   
can serve as raw data for   
❖ Work Sample: any of child’s  Family can and should have access. We 
products  date things to see the progression of 
➢ Drawings, paintings, blocks,  development! 
clay, etc 
➢ Materials put in portfolio 
■ Can come from 
family, teacher, or 
● All have equal 
access; child’s 
access depends 
on age 
◆ Child 

➢ To be authentic, everything 
must be dated 

11-1a (Work Samples to Document  Having a showcase of one’s work can 

Development)  make them feel proud of what they’ve 
❖ Communicate change by comparing  accomplished, especially if one skill or 
then and now  subject was more challenging than 
➢ Not comparing to other  another. 
children, but with the child’s 
own approach and learning 
➢ Validates importance of 
creative activities, provides 
another way to better 
engage families in child’s 
➢ Can reveal: 
■ Self-care, physical 
development, literacy, 
social skills, 
creativity, etc 

11-1b (Other Work Samples for the   

❖ Can include:  
➢ Construction, sculpture, 
collage, audio/video 
products, language samples 

11-1c (Collaborating with Colleagues  It should be noted though that bias needs 
about the Significance of Work Samples)  to be left out of these collaborations. If a 
❖ Knowledge of child is richly  teacher has had academic of disciplinary 
enhanced by colleagues coming  issues with the child, both colleagues 
together and viewing a child’s work  should check each other to make sure the 
sample  priority remains of the success of the 
❖ Child's work is considered a  child’s success.  
revelation of thoughts and feelings  

11-1d (How to Find the Time)  I like the idea that the family gets the 
❖ Time efficient with use of digital  Portfolio at the end. Most times, the 
camera  parents and family can't be there during 
❖ Literacies: c​ ommunication using  the school day obviously, but this can make 
symbols other than alphabetic  them feel as though they were apart of 
❖ Using Technology  each step 
➢ Easier for storage and 
❖ What to Do with It 
➢ Don't ask child to create 
something specific for 
➢ At end of school year, 
portfolios given to family 

11-2 (Looking at Children’s Cognitive  Creativity is a gift that everyone possesses 

Development)  in their own way. As teachers and 
❖ Creativity:​ novel thinking or  observers, we are able to receive this gift, 
products  assess it, and tap into the child’s world in a 
➢ At peak during early years  way that would not be possible otherwise 
of life 
➢ Trial and error stage 
➢ Affected by development; 
can be observed and assessed 
■ Gives into about 
cognitive dev 
➢ Children’s creative work is 
recognized as a window into 
their minds 

11-2a (Creativity and Cognitive  I am a creative individual and I always 

Development)  have been. My craft is music and when I’m 
❖ Thinking and all its processes along  practicing or writing a song, it is so true 
with learning are integral to  that everything else fades away. Time is 
creativity  so important too. You can’t put a deadline 
❖ Creative process needs:  or grade on creativity because then it loses 
➢ Time   some of its magic.  
➢ Previous experience 
❖ Stages of creativity and cognition 
correspond to stages of 
development of language, reading, 
and writing 
❖ When involved in creative 
activities, the brain and body can 
become so focused that nothing else 
seems to matter 

11-2b (Benefits of Creativity)  Creativity is as natural as our ability to 

❖ It's not just being skilled in the arts  learn another language. It should not be 
that makes you creative  dimmed or dismissed, but encouraged and 
➢ Future of humankind  fostered.  
depends on development of 
❖ As we help children develop and 
learn, encouraging and nurturing 
creativity has both educational and 
social benefits 
❖ Creativity is taking a bit of 
knowledge and changing it, 
cognitively and practicably 
transforming it into something else 
➢ Enhances self-esteem and 
self worth 

11-2c (Reggio Emilia and Children’s  I find it so beautiful that there is not one 
Literacies)  approach to teaching. Every individual is 
❖ Teachers consider every aspect of  so unique and having and learning about 
the environment as a stimulus for  these experiences can alter the way we 
learning and forming mental images  teach and observe for the better. 
that will be called on to organize 
and construct meaning 
➢ Observation is most 
important role 
❖ After visiting, teachers see 
themselves as supporters of 
learning rather than the leaders 

11-2d (Representations of the Project  The less freedom you take out of 
Approach)  creativity, the more restricted it becomes. 
❖ Children notice and remember  Then, you are left with purely an 
details they have observed and find  assignment instead of an invention. If that 
ways to express of re-create their  pattern continues, being creative will be 
observations  seen as a chore and that is not good for the 
❖ Guidelines:  child’s development in any domain.  
➢ Don't rush representations 
➢ Keep representation goals 
open minded 
➢ Offer extensive material 
➢ Encourage children to solve 
own problems 

11-2e (Assessing Creative Program Goals)  I completely agree. Creativity is within all 
❖ Important for schools/programs to  of us and tapping into that is key. I am 
include creativity and assess it  grateful for the adults and educators in my 
systematically as a contribution to  life that did not stifle mine.  
cognitive dev 

11-3 (Children Drawing)  One simple activity can have a children’s 

❖ Parts of child’s play  development interact in all areas.  
➢ Play and drawing involve all 
developmental domains 
❖ Children draw before they write 
because fine muscle control 
increases and their cognitive 
functioning is being refined 
➢ Drawings reveal emotional 
➢ Precursor to writing 
11-3a (Stages of Children’s Drawing)  There are many factors that go into 
❖ Genetic, environmental, and  creativity and should be taken into 
cultural development affect  consideration when assessing and 
creativity  supporting 
❖ Stage 1 (birth to 2) 
➢ Marks are random, done for 
➢ Tool held in tight fist grip, 
with rigid wrist 
❖ Stage 2 (2-4) 
➢ Scribbling: e​ xperiments with 
drawing media; can be 
uncontrolled or controlled 
➢ Marks usually within 
confines of paper 
➢ Circles, lines (vertical and 
horizontal), mandalas, suns, 
radials, ​tadpole man: 
beginning drawings of 
humans made with lines 
protruding from circles 
❖ Stage 3: (4-7) 
➢ Schema: symbol in art that is 
repeated frequently, 
representing a real object 
❖ Confidentiality and respect in use 
and display of children’s drawings 

11-3b (Talking with Children about Their  Our words and statements have power. 
Creative Work)  Knowing what to say that will both 
❖ Acknowledge children's efforts  encourage and want the child to improve 
❖ Point out type of lines, colors,  on what they are doing is important. These 
shapes, patterns, rhythms used  are great examples of what to say for each 
❖ Drawing is familiar, open-ended  situation and scenario.  
❖ Common responses:  
➢ Complimentary 
■ “You really thought 
about that” 
➢ Judgmental 
■ “What part did you 
do first?” 
➢ Valuing 
■ “What do you like 
about it?” 
➢ Questioning 
■ “Would you like to 
tell me about it? 
➢ Probing 
■ Just observe, simple 
➢ Correcting 
■ Allow them to use 
materials freely but 
make sure it’s safer 
for child and 
➢ Psychoanalyzing 
■ Note curious, strange, 
bizarre creations or 
➢ Modeling 
■ Provide child with 
rich experiences in 
the world around 
➢ Describing 
■ You covered the 
whole page with 
paint. That took a lot 
of concentration 

11-3c (Using Self-Portraits to Know the   

❖ Psychologists take interest in 
drawings because it tells us 
something about how the child 
perceives the world 

11-3d (Observing Creativity in Infants and  We can learn so much about a child 
Toddlers)  without them even having to directly tell 
❖ Everything a child does is creative  us.  
❖ Infants make something happen vs 
making something  
❖ By observing infants and toddlers 
as they work with materials and 
interact with the environment, you 
can demonstrate creativity by 
preserving work.  
11-4 (Other Creative Media)   
❖ Small muscles interact with 
creativity to produce 
three-dimensional products 
❖ Physical properties of volume, 
weight, and length are transformed 
through play 

11-4a (Music and Movement  When learning, I see the ties between my 
Development)  love for the arts and whatever subject I’m 
❖ Learning music, dance, drama, and  learning. I try to personalize something 
painting have positive development  academic and see how it relates to what I 
on cognitive development  know about music to help the information 
➢ Music and language critical  stick in my head. 
to lang development 
➢ Helps with intellectual, 
physical, social, emotional, 
language, and literacy 

11-4b (Sensory Experiences)  Open-ended play can be a great tool to 

❖ Sensory material is intrinsically  make sure the child is getting everything 
satisfying and can keep children  out of being creative 
occupied, but also helps processing 
occur through neurological 
threshold that triggers a behavioral 
❖ Teacher can guide learning through 
open-ended play 
➢ Child demonstrating skills in 
every domain of development 

11-4c (Blocks as a Creative Medium)  Knowing the stages is important for both 
❖ Unit blocks: sanded, wooden  observation and assessment of the child’s 
children’s blocks are highest scoring  development in all domains. 
open-ended toy 
❖ Blocks help children understand 
➢ Mathematical relationships 
➢ Science (gravity, weight, 
➢ Language 
❖ Feel emotional satisfaction at 
building tower and powerful release 
when knocking it down 
❖ Block play can be more effective if 
teacher helps children describe their 
plan before beginning to build and 
encouraging them along the way 
❖ Stage 1 
➢ Feeling, lifting, moving 
blocks from place to place 
❖ Stage 2 
➢ Horizontal rows, stacking 
and knocking 
❖ Stage 3 
➢ Visual acuity, small muscle 
coordination, balance 
❖ Stage 4 
➢ enclosures 
❖ Stage 5 
➢ Symmetry, sense of balance 
and equal proportions  
❖ Stage 6 
➢ Naming structures; play 
becomes more symbolic 
❖ Stage 7 
➢ Children try to build more 

11-4d (Using Technology Creatively)  Technology can do so many more amazing 

❖ All kinds of technology can be used  things than even 5 years ago. Personally, I 
for creative activities  use technology to create music and be 
❖ “Children use their imaginations  creative and I see no harm in continuing to 
and participate in hands-on  do so 
experiences to construct new ideas 
and understanding about their 
world, and playing with technology 
follows the same principles” 

11-5 (Helping all Children with   

❖ Creative work 
➢ Expressive and receptive 
➢ Can be a form of two-way 

11-5a (Giftedness: Creative and Cognitive   

Development beyond Expected Levels) 
❖ Precocity 
➢ Exceptional early 
development in cognitive or 
creative ability 
❖ Scale for creative characteristics 
➢ Imaginative thinking 
➢ Humor 
➢ Intellecutal playfulness 
➢ Non-conforming attitude 
❖ Divergent thinking: ability to think 
of a wide range of possibilities 
❖ Convergent thinking: ability to 
arrive at a single answer 
❖ Assessment of every child’s 
learning level helps meet the child’s 
needs through curriculum planning 

11-5b (Cultural Diversity)   

❖ Art is a visual language for 
➢ Child may not be able to 
speak common lang or 
culture with rest of group 
❖ Introduce children to the artists and 
crafts of various cultures 
❖ Honor the art of the cultures of the 
children in your program to 
demonstrate respect and honor 

11-5c (Ability Diversity)  I think it is beautiful and vital that every 

❖ Adaptive devices exist to assist all  child has the opportunity to be creative and 
children in exploring various  explore that side of their personality 
creative mediums 
❖ Manipulation of art materials is also 
soothing for children with attention 
❖ Creative media are essential parts 
of every early childhood program 

No tool for this chapter as a work sample would require work from a child, which I do not 
have the ability to obtain.