Evidence was gathered from pre-school and school classrooms across the nine countries, involving 71 case studies. From each case episodes of creativity in science and mathematics teaching, learning and assessment were identified, resulting in 218 episodes. Multiple visits to classrooms over time resulted in a rich set of data.
Analysis indicated considerable potential for inquiry and creativity in the opportunities teachers provided for the generation and evaluation of ideas and strategies. This was identified in both preschool and primary settings. The generation of ideas was promoted by rich motivating contexts for play and exploration, and inquiry was linked to children’s everyday experiences. There was considerable scope for children’s decision making. Dialogue and collaboration, through group work and teacher questioning, played important roles in encouraging reflection and explanation, strengthening children’s evaluation.
The value of sensitive and responsive teacher scaffolding both to support independence and extend inquiry was evidenced. Particularly in relation to when to intervene and when to listen and build upon children’s creative engagement and the development of their ideas. Assessment approaches observed were generally informal and formative and were based on observation and teacher questioning.
Some differences between settings with different age phases were identified. The value of play and the use of outdoor or community resources were less recognised in primary than in pre-school. The importance of the process of representation in developing children’s thinking was under-appreciated, particularly in pre-school. There was greater scope for child-initiated activity and creative engagement in pre-school, whereas time and curriculum requirements tended to limit opportunities in primary settings.
This resulted in the project calling for: