Under Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) children have a “right to culture, leisure, rest and play” meaning that creativity and opportunities for self-expression are key to the realisation of this article for children. Creativity is often considered to be solely about the arts (think the phrase “the creative industries”), however this is incorrect as creativity really means innovation, exploration, invention and expression (often of self), which covers many, if not all aspects of life. A good quality service should give ample opportunities for children to express their creativity through Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) pursuits. From autumn 2017 SOSCN will be delivering STEM training to out of school care staff.

Under the Health and Social Care Standards (Scottish Government, 2016) it states: “1.31 As a child, my social and physical skills, confidence, self-esteem and creativity are developed through a balance of organised and freely chosen extended play, including using open ended and natural materials.”

Having an arts and crafts table with children all pursuing the same outcome is in itself not necessarily creative- usually creativity would be recognised by the process and not the final product, indeed, there may be no final product to hang on the wall or show. Building robots, constructing with lego, making dens- all require creative thinking so long as children are allowed to explore and make mistakes. That is not to say that children don't need guidance, they do: a child whose den keeps collapsing is going to get quickly frustrated and uninterested unless some suggestions are given about sound building techniques. Once the child understands this they can then apply these new techniques to their own vision. Creativity is ensuring that children (and adults too!) have the necessary skills and knowledge and that they are not then overly directed by others, but instead are given freedom to explore how they can manipulate these skills into expressing something personal.

Creativity is of course not limited to children, although adults often think they are not creative- a good quality service is one which values and encourages staff and parents to develop new skills and ideas, and also share any interests they currently have.

SOSCN alongside a number of other organisations has been working with the Care Inspectorate to produce a creativity resource which will be available before the end of 2017. Starcatcher is an arts organisation providing creativity training in expressive arts to early years workers and Education Scotland/Creative Scotland host a creativity portal designed to provide educators with ideas about delivering and supporting creativity across all curricular areas.

“...creativity is increasingly recognised as an essential higher order skill for learning, life and work and is a vital element in the delivery of Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence.” (, accessed 22nd August 2017)

last updated: 07/07/2023