The current Teaching and Learning focus at Sherborne House is ‘Challenge’ and this is a concept that the Reception children have truly embraced. They have helped to organise a ‘Challenge Area’ within the classroom that includes their Challenge books alongside challenge activities to complement their learning. Each afternoon during Child Initiated Learning, the children can complete a challenge from their book or one displayed in the classroom. An adult will then sign their book and they receive a sticker to say the activity has been completed. Some children have been so proud of their work that they have asked for it to be displayed on the ‘Wow Wall’. There has been a range of challenges such as, ‘The answer is 8. What is the question?’, ‘How could you catch a dinosaur?’ and ‘Imagine you could be anybody. Who would you be and why?’ During maths lessons, Reception endeavoured to complete different open-ended investigations. They had to decide how to organise themselves, as part of a group or pair, before agreeing upon which equipment they would need to use to complete the task in hand. Then the children had time to explore and develop their initiatives and were encouraged to discuss what they were doing and what they wanted to achieve.
All the children have responded well to these open-ended activities and questions, which have encouraged some increasingly creative answers. Creativity is very much a process and often there is no clearly identifiable outcome or product. Yet, the outcome in terms of children’s confidence and skill in learning can be immense. In having scope to explore new possibilities and create new and exciting connections between people, places and things, children discover meanings in their worlds. They are also learning that they can transform ideas and rethink what they know. Therefore, creativity can transform understanding by fostering critical thinking and allowing children to review, reinvent and make new meanings.