Resource List for Encouraging Creativity in Children

Lois Birkenshaw: Music for Fun, Music for Learning

Bev Bos: Before the Basics: Creating Conversations with Children

Bev Bos: Don’t Move the Muffin Tins: A Hands Off Guide to Art for the Young Child
Bev Bos/Jenny Chapman: Tumbling Over the Edge, A Rant for Children’s Play

Clare Cherry: Creative Art for the Developing Child

Clare Cherry: Creative Movement for the Developing Child
Joyce Boorman: Dance & Language Experiences with Children
Anne Green Gilbert: Creative Dance for All Ages: A Conceptual Approach

Anne Green Gilbert: Brain-Compatible Dance Education
Howard Gardner: Multiple Intelligences

Ann S. Epstein/Eli Trimis: Supporting Young Artists
Gordon Neufeld: Hold onto Your Kids
Daniel Goleman
Paul Kauffman Ray Michael: The Creative Spirit Companion to PBS Television Series
Carla Hannaford PHd: Smart Moves:Why Learning is Not all in Your Head
Eric Jensen: Teaching with the Brain in Mind
Alphie Kahn: No Contest and Punished by Rewards
Rhoda Kellog: Why Children Scribble
Steve Kline: Out of the Garden
Richard Louv: Last Child in the Woods, Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder
Viktor Lowenfield: Creative and Mental Growth
Moira Morningstar: Growing with Dance, Developing Through Creative Dance

Colleen Politano Joy Paquin: Brain-Based Learning with Class
Robert Schirrmacher: Art and Creative Development for Young Children
Philip Sheppard: Music Makes Your Child Smarter
Silken Laumann: Child’s Play

WEB SITES…click on Field Services: Arts Education Research…affiliate of above site…lots of research material www.… resource site for storymaking….. resources and books by Anne Green Gilbert (see above)….resource site for using multiple intelligences in the classroom…..if this address doesn’t work do a google search for MI Smart and that will take you to the website brain research and arts education site books, article and resources and official site for Bev Bos

Are You an Artist?

I have often been asked if I am a dancer or an artist. This question always strikes me as a bit strange, because it comes after I have been observed dancing or sketching. Why would they ask me that the question, if they have been watching me doing it?
Barbara Dances at Vancouver Folk Festival

I used to answer yes, with the qualifying “but I ‘m not a professional” because I knew what they meant by the question…are you a real dancer or do you make a living this way.

Recently it occurred to me that the question gave me an opportunity to inform people that the arts do not belong to the realm of the “professional”, those people who have chosen to devote their lives to a particular art form. It gave me the opportunity to say, that in fact, the arts belong to all of us. We all have the potential to sing, draw, act, write, dance and make music. Now, when I am asked that question, I say yes, aren’t we all? and I enter into a brief discussion on the subject. I say brief because I am eager to get back to what I was doing before he or she approached me….dancing or drawing.

Sometimes I linger, and talk, telling the person how I have integrated the arts into my life, how the arts enable me to know myself, to express myself, to renew myself and to share myself in community with others. If he or she is really interested I take more time and explain how the arts help me live my life. (enrich my life)

When I am troubled or can’t make sense of what is going on in my life I can turn to my journal or my visual diary and let the words or the drawing tell me what I need to know In this way I gain self knowledge and self awareness. Both of my journals provide me with a safe place to express my thoughts, feeling and ideas.

When I write or work with art materials my whole being is fully involved in the creative process. My mind is focused on the task at hand as I create a story, a poem or a piece of art out of my imagination and my life experiences.

When I sit quietly and draw I am taken out of myself, out of the logical rational part of my brain and into the moment, into the beauty of my subject, whether that is a human being, a landscape or a flower close at hand. ..In this way I am removed from the pressures of my life.

When I dance, I unwind. I am fully present in the moment, at one with the music and my body. The music takes me out of my head and into my body, freeing my mind and connecting myself to my spirit, the essence of who I am, taking me to a place of utter joy and bliss, taking me home to myself…In this way I renew myself.

When I play in a drum circle or sing with friends I am connecting with other people in a profound way, blending my joy and bliss with theirs in community. We are all joining together in that moment, experiencing something wonderful and precious, and this is magic, the magic of people sharing themselves with each other.

As I walk through my life, wearing my many hats, teacher, mother, daughter, friend, I lose sight of my own needs and desires. The arts bring me back to myself, . connecting me to my spirit, .to.the essence of who I am. The arts bring balance into my life and this is wellness…this is health.. this is what it means to be human.

So if you happen to see me dancing or sketching, instead of asking me that question, join me and we’ll dance joyfully together or sit quietly side by side, sketching.

– Barbara Karmazyn


*artsplay: Exploratory experiences in dance, music, art and stories

Artsplay Model

Many years ago I came up with the word artsplay to describe what I was doing in my work with young children. In my programs we played with art materials, sang, played with percussion instruments, made up stories and acted them out and we danced. I placed the emphasis on the experience itself not the end result. Artsplay is all about the process, the doing, the enjoyment, the exploration and the experimentation.

In my programs I wanted to give the children opportunities to express themselves through all of the art forms, for the simple pleasure of doing so.

I wanted the children, to experience the joy and pleasure of artsplay, and I wanted them to experience that with no pressure placed upon them. I knew from first hand experience that the pressures to produce or perform, or to do it a certain way, or to be criticized, or judged can destroy the creative spirit, and can have a damaging effect on the emotional well being of a child.

I created stimulating environments full of neat stuff to inspire and motivate the children. I used playful games and activities that gave them the freedom to explore and discover their creative spirit.

I placed the emphasis on the process of the doing, rather than the end result. I didn’t teach steps and patterns. I didn’t provide scripts and models. I didn’t tell them how to do something. I let them figure it out for themselves.  I provided the guidance and encouragement that they needed to feel comfortable enough to explore and experiment. The children thrived. As I began working with adults I continued to use the artsplay model. As with the children, the adults have thrived, and so will you.

– Barbara Karmazyn

*Trademark Disclaimer
As indicated in the above article, I have been using the word artsplay for over ten years. Back then I made a conscious decision not to trademark this word as I believed (and still do) that some words should belong to everybody.  I am aware that other people and organizations also use this word in a similar context. It is not my intention to take anything away from them, and I hope that I am not stepping on any “trademark” toes.  Since we are all doing the same work, I hope that I will be regarded as a colleague rather than a competitor.