Kathy Quayle

Wintec, Hamilton, NZ - Senior Lecturer, ECE

Workshop title: "Developing Creative individuals"

Natural outdoor environments provide an ideal and irreplicable setting where children can develop lifelong skills, knowledge, and attitudes relating to creativity.
While we cannot predict the changing world our children will experience as adults, one thing is certain, there will always be a need for creative individuals to both drive and respond to changes effectively.
Natural outdoor environments present unique opportunities that foster creativity. This presentation draws on a research project carried out with three early childhood education settings in New Zealand and focuses on how young children respond creatively to elements of natural outdoor settings. The findings highlight some of the unique characteristics of these settings and how children's creativity is supported through meaningful engagement with natural environments.

Personal Bios: I grew up in a family home that was surrounded by open pasture and mature woodland that led to the banks of the Waikato River. Most of my childhood memories are of time spent outdoors with my siblings and friends. We used the wood as our playground and our toys were the natural objects that we found there.
When my three children were very young, an opportunity arose to rent a house that was isolated in the middle of farmland with a small stream and wood outside the back door. Memories of my experiences of nature as a child were behind my decision to move to this house. Over the next five years my children could be found building bridges over the stream, climbing tall trees, running through the cornfields, dabbling in mud puddles, and sliding down grassy hills.
In more recent years, as an ECE teacher and subsequently as a senior lecturer visiting ECE settings, I have been responsible for supporting children's creativity, and teaching adult students about creativity. My current research focuses on children's creativity in natural outdoor settings, adult creativity in creative communities, and field-based tertiary education.

Kathy Quayle