Never Underestimate Children’s Creativity

I am still learning.  After 39 years of teaching preschool, I still learn from children.  Thank goodness!  Today was one of those days, or I should say one of those ‘moments’.

It happened like this…

We’re learning about woodland animals.  Bears have been very popular.  Our loft has become a bear cave, we had a Teddy Bear Clinic with a nurse, and we made a giant Brown Bear, Brown Bear with ‘tear art’.

Children are working hard.

Today we created our own bears.  We had many circles of different sizes and shades of brown.  Watching children select the sizes of the circles, and how they placed them for bear parts was a joy.  Every child’s perception was different.  Vastly different.  Art and creativity flowed.

And then there was Maddie…

She’s one of the older children.  She loves art, so when she glued this I was surprised:

“Maddie, can you tell me about your bear?  Is that the body?”


I pointed to different circles and asked her to tell me about them.

Dead silence.

Okay, Jennie.  You know when to let it go.  So, I handed Maddie the Sharpie pen to draw the face, or decorate the bear.  This is what she drew:

OH MY!  Of course that’s a bear!  And that’s one of the most creative bears I’ve seen.  I never saw this in her circles.  I looked hard, but I couldn’t see a bear.  I doubted Maddie.  No, I didn’t understand her thinking.  I was ‘in the box’ and she was ‘out of the box.’

Thank you, Maddie.  You were my teacher today.

“Every child is an artist.”  ~Pablo Picasso~


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in art, Diversity, Imagination, Inspiration, preschool, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Never Underestimate Children’s Creativity

  1. This is just amazing!!! Wow! I called my coworkers over who have small children and they were as amazed as I was. Thank you for sharing this. Yay, Maddie!!!!

  2. What a wonderful ‘Out of the Box’ drawing.. Like the bear is standing on a mirror and we are looking up from the mirror at him… LOVE it.. And the imagination of young children..
    Always teaching us to look from a different Perspective 🙂 ❤

  3. willedare says:

    Ahh, perspective…

  4. I think Maddie is well on her way to being a graphic artist! I’ve seen them use circles in the same way to build an image.

  5. beetleypete says:

    Maddie taught us all something today. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  6. johnrieber says:

    This is terrific – thanks for sharing!

  7. quiall says:

    That child will go far in life!

  8. Yay for Maddie’s creativity and style. She knew where she was going with this, and the pen provided the finishing touch.

  9. All of what’s been said already! I’m thinking Maddie might be a ‘Bear Whisperer’ in the making, too!

  10. A bear looking down a well. Excellent.

  11. Life-long learning… ❤ Nothing like it! Kids are amazing teachers. xoxoxo

  12. Oh how cute!! I didn’t see either. Her bear is great!

  13. petespringerauthor says:

    Lessons like this teach us about problem-solving and realizing that we have different abilities and creative ideas. The best part is that I know you used this moment as a teaching tool for them.

    • Jennie says:

      You are so right, and yes I did! I know you can picture the moment I saw her drawing. It was a great teaching moment, far more for me than the children.

  14. beth says:

    brilliant, Maddie! love when we learn from them )

  15. Kara Aharon says:

    Never Underestimate Children’s Creativity – love that statement.

  16. Oh children are so creative. Really lovely

  17. Splendid, Jennie! Hugs on the wing.

  18. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, thank you for this wonderful post!

  19. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Please enjoy another wonderful post from the brilliant teacher, Jennie!

  20. Darlene says:

    Once again it proves that kids are amazing!! I love her bear. The future is bright with kids like this.

  21. Dan Antion says:

    Jennie, you have no idea how much I love this. Our daughter once drew a picture from a different perspective (the side of her mother’s face) because that’s the way she saw her when she was little and being held. Instead of your amazement, the teacher told her she drew it wrong. We corrected the teacher. Years later, our daughter graduated, sums cum lade, from the Hartford Art school with her BFA.

    • Jennie says:

      What a story! I’m so glad you told me. Of course I bristled at what Faith’s teacher said. Thank goodness you corrected the teacher. You must be very, very proud of Faith. I certainly am. Thank you so much, Dan. Your comment made my day.

  22. That’s awesome. Cheers to Maddie … and your joy of learning.

    Kind of off-topic. This is an interesting 2 minutes. The kids are older, but you’ll appreciate it.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Frank. Your video is not off topic at all. It’s what matters most, and the reason teachers need to pay attention and connect with children. Imagine if I had brushed off Maddie’s bear. That would have left a scar. I’m writing about this very topic. Stay tuned. 🙂

  23. Maddie really made the day! That is fantastic. xx Michael

  24. dgkaye says:

    Love Maddie’s interpretation. Every artist has their own interpetation. ❤

  25. bosssybabe says:

    Love the creativity! I try to nourish this side of Charlotte too, she has so much pride in her creations it pains me to reduce the clutter lol

    • Jennie says:

      Can you believe I never saw the bear and doubted the child? Shame on me, and huge kudos to Maddie and her creativity. I know what you mean about reducing the clutter of her creations. When it gets ‘over the top’, you can take photos and create a memory book. Charlotte would like that.

  26. Pingback: Never Underestimate Children’s Creativity – Sewa Situ PRINCE-AGBODJAN

  27. Pingback: Never Underestimate Children’s Creativity — A Teacher’s Reflections | Barbara Crane Navarro

  28. I think the more open-ended projects we can offer children, the better. Thanks for sharing this lesson.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s