Environment and Creativity

Our previous research used Torrance testing to determine creativity scores of grade 3 children in urban and rural settings in SW Ontario, Waldorf private schools, and in partnership with research in Norway examining rural and urban settings with the same methods. Results of the earlier investigation showed significant differences in the Torrance Test scores of children who were identified as living in either an urban or rural region of the province, as well as attending public or Waldorf schools.

The second stage of this research study involved interviews with parents of the same cohort of children (now in Grade Four) within these sites in SW Ontario to further explore, and provide evidence to support results from the previous research. This data provides us with an enriched understanding of the environmental factors that impact creativity measures. Our main purpose is to attempt to separate the factors influencing creative thinking from sources of the physical environment (space) and the social context (family). In particular, we wished to address the following questions:

What are the determinants of children’s innovative behavior?; What role do formal education institutions play in nurturing ingenuity, if any?; What values and influences come from within the family or the community?; To what extent are creative attributes and abilities identified and developed through formal versus informal learning? How important is home life as a factor influencing creativity What aspects of the physical environment (such as space/nature) contribute to child wellbeing and creative thinking? What aspects of the social context of the family contribute to child wellbeing and creative thinking?

Data collection for this study was completed in October 2012.