Effects of a Play Program on Creative Thinking of Preschool Children

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a play program in the creative thinking of preschool children. The study used a repeated measures experimental pretest-posttest design with control groups. The sample included 86 participants aged 5 to 6 years (53 experimental and 33 control participants). Before and after administering the program, two evaluation instruments were applied: The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (Torrance, 1990) and Behaviors and Traits of Creative Personality Scale (Garaigordobil & Berrueco, 2007). The program consisted of a weekly 75-minute play session throughout the school year. ANOVA results showed that the program significantly increased the verbal creativity (fluency, flexibility, originality), graphic creativity (elaboration, fluency, originality), and behaviors and traits of creative personality. In the pretest phase, there were no differences in the creativity of boys and girls, and the program stimulated a similar level of change in both sexes. The discussion focuses on the importance of implementing creative programs with preschool children.

Keywords: program evaluation, play, creativity, childhood.

El objetivo del estudio fue evaluar los efectos de un programa de juego en la creatividad infantil. Se utilizó un diseño experimental de medidas repetidas pretest-postest con grupos de control. La muestra se configuró con 86 participantes de 5 a 6 años (53 experimentales y 33 control). Antes y después de la intervención se aplicaron 2 instrumentos de evaluación: El Test de Pensamiento Creativo de Torrance (Torrance, 1990) y La Escala de Conductas y Rasgos de Personalidad Creadora (Garaigordobil & Berrueco, 2007). El programa consistió en una sesión de juego semanal de 75 minutos de duración durante un curso escolar. Los resultados del ANOVA mostraron que el programa incrementó significativamente la creatividad verbal (fluidez, flexibilidad, originalidad), la creatividad gráfica (elaboración, fluidez, originalidad), así como las conductas y rasgos de personalidad creadora. En la fase pretest no había diferencias en la creatividad de niños y niñas, y el programa estimuló un nivel de cambio similar en ambos sexos. La discusión se centra en la importancia de implementar programas de creatividad con niños de edad preescolar.

Palabras clave: evaluación de programas, juego, creatividad, infancia.

Creativity is the capacity to create, to produce new things. It is the capacity of the human brain to reach new conclusions and ideas and to solve problems in an original fashion. It can manifest in artistic, literary, scientific forms... and it can also unfold in the area of daily life, improving its quality. The latter aspect will probably not leave its mark on the history of humanity, but it is basically what makes life worth living (Csikszentmihaldy, 1996). Creativity is a key process for personal development and social progress, and it is therefore included in Positive Psychology.

In view of current research, many investigators share the belief that creativity can be developed by training, and diverse studies that have assessed the effects of programs that stimulate creativity confirm this belief (Antonietti, 2000; Baer, 1996; Fleith, Renzulli, & Westberg, 2002; Katiyar & Jarial, 1983; Komarik & Brutenicova, 2003; Ma, 2006; Parker, 1998; Prieto, López, Bermejo, Renzulli, & Castejón, 2002; Saxon, Treffinger, Young, & Wittig, 2003; Tettamanzi, Sarotti, & Frontino, 2009; Zachopoulou, Trevlas, & Konstadinidou, 2006).

Among them, we underline the study of Antonietti (2000), who assessed the efficacy of a program to train creative analogical thinking in children between 5 and 7 years of age. The program deployed for 6 months included seeking analogies related to a story and identification of similarities, among other activities. The results showed that the program increased analogical thinking, and the dimension that benefitted the most was creativity. …