Education must demonstrate how creative energy and inven-
tiveness have constantly improved the context, content and
quality of human life.
(Norwegian National Curriculum, in Hagness 1994:11)
How wonderful it is to see creativity placed so firmly at the centre of the Norwegian curriculum. In the UK it is not so central; indeed, it would appear that creativity has very much taken a 'back seat' since the advent of the National Curriculum, arguably because it is so much more difficult to deliver and assess than subject content. However, a lot can be gained by looking at creativity and the way it is developed in schools: we can begin to question our system and its policies and practices, take on new perspectives and re-examine our values. This is particularly important in the early and primary years when the foundations for learning are established and the patterns for future development laid down. Teaching creatively can improve the quality of education, make learning more meaningful and open up more exciting ways of approaching the curriculum.
Not everyone, of course, has the same definition of creativity. As a broad and somewhat abstract concept it is bound to lead to a number of interpretations. There are 'relevant criteria but no definitive criteria' (Fryer 1996: 26). The definition used in this book is my particular construct which subsumes many of the elements embodied in other definitions and which I have used to define creativity in relation to the teaching of young children.