Friday, January 2, 2015

Our Creative Home: the Thomas'

I met Morgan at an event last autumn, and have since seen her name nearly everywhere! You may know her better as Miss Morgan, founder of Brilliant Beginnings Preschool in Provo, Utah. Today she'll be sharing her thoughts on fostering creativity and learning in the home through providing opportunities for self-discovery, and through play.

Tell us about your family!

Hello! My name is Morgan, most people call me Miss Morgan. I run a preschool in Provo called Brilliant Beginnings, and absolutely love my job. Working with preschoolers is the best gig on the planet! I was born and raised here in Provo, Utah. I love creating, chocolate and peanut butter, and hiking in the mountains. I am married to an Electronics Engineer named Ryan from Riverside, California who loves to wear bright socks and moved to Utah for the snowboarding.  Together he and I are raising three children. Our oldest daughter Ellie is ten years old and loves horses, sewing, and fashion. Our son Jonas is seven and he loves skateboarding, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and spends hours building with Legos. Our baby girl Piper is two years old. She loves doughnuts, dancing, and everything Mickey Mouse (her favorite character is Pluto). Our family loves the outdoors, hiking, picnicking, fishing and bike rides on the river trail. We also love movie night every now and then, and sometimes camp out in our backyard.  

How have you encouraged creativity in your home?

One way that I facilitate creativity in my home, with my children, is by encouraging self-expression. I feel that self-expression is the freest form of creativity! I mean, nothing is more satisfying or fulfilling for humans, specifically children, than being able to express themselves openly without fear of judgment. 

How do you get your kids involved?

I work to give my children opportunities for self-discovery and ownership, whether it be through art (supplying my children with basic tools like blank paper, crayons, paint, or clay), imagination (providing them with books, hanging artwork on their walls), writing (providing them with their own journals), or through things like letting them assist me in decorating their bedroom, allowing them the freedom to choose their clothing each day (this one is a challenge for me), or cranking up the tunes and dancing in the kitchen. I think that the freedom to express can really nurture their emotional health, and these experiences will enhance the development of their creativity.

Another way that I facilitate creativity in my home is through play. I love the old saying, “Play is the Great Work of Childhood.” Play is so great for creative development! It fosters mental development and encourages new ways of thinking and problem solving. The trick to creative play is that it can’t be forced, and it should be spontaneous and self-directed. Kids need the time and space to play. Sometimes I worry about the effects of our modern, fast paced society. It seems to be picking up speed, and it can be overwhelming for kids when they are constantly moving from one task or event to the next without time to just think, and be. I work hard to not overbook my children with activities outside of our home. They have school, and one extracurricular activity each, and the rest of their time during the week is intentionally spent at home, sometimes with a friend or two over to play. By providing my children with ample time to play freely, I am providing them with vital opportunities for healthy development of creativity.

Thanks so much, Miss Morgan! Find more about her preschool adventures on her blog and on Instagram (@miss_morgan_).

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