In a recent newsletter from Brian Tracy he mentions a study he found,
"In one series of I.Q. tests given to children ages 2 - 4 years, 95% of the children were found to be highly creative with curious, questioning minds and an ability for abstract thinking.
When the same children were tested again at age 7, only 5% still demonstrated high levels of creativity. In the ensuing years, they had learned to conform; "If you want to get along, you had better go along," is what they had discovered.
They had learned to color between the lines, to sit in neat little rows, to do and say what the other kids did and said, and to do as they were told. Over time, they lost the wonderful fearless spontaneity of youth and learned to suppress ideas and insights that were unusual or different."
Now I could not find a reference to a study nor could I find anything like it after a quick search on the web. So I have to ask myself do I believe this?
I have a 4 year old right now and she can be very creative, she found a basket of clothes pins and proceeded to use them as building blocks for a fence and then a little building. She also asks lots of questions which we try to answer as best we can in a manner she can understand.
I've also noticed that she'll pick up what other children are doing. Children about this age also are eager to please often enough.
School at the very least teaches conformity. Change activities when the bells ring. Stop doing one thing no matter how interesting or fun and do something else no matter how dull or boring. That works for managing large groups of children but it hurts the most important asset we have and that is the creativity of our children.