The influence of teacher characteristics, beliefs, and program quality on children's creativity
Creativity is important because it influences self-esteem, social development, behavior, and problem-solving abilities (Barron & Harrington, 1981). With this in mind, finding ways to promote creativity becomes necessary. Since teacher characteristics, beliefs, and program quality have all been found to influence children's cognitive and social development (Chang, 2003; Pianta et al., 2005; Fontaine et al., 2006), it seems possible that they could also influence creativity. To address this question, 10 early childhood education classrooms were assessed for program quality using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R; Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 2005) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Pianta, LaParo, & Hamre, 2006) measurements. Teachers of these classrooms were asked to complete a questionnaire that assessed their educational background, professional development, and beliefs regarding their profession, developmentally appropriate practices, and creativity. In addition, 82 children ages 3 to 5 completed an art collage, which was then assessed for creativity using the Consensual Assessment Technique (Amabile, 1982). Interestingly, negative correlations were found between program quality and creativity. This suggests that while high quality of care and education leads to higher academic skills in children (Burchinal et al., 2000), it does not lead to higher creativity. Further studies are recommended to validate these findings.