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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The Theories as a Framework to Support Children 23 every new creation and research different possibilities for Colter to experiment and paint with. They anticipate with excitement his daily prize showpiece! Making Maslow’s Theory Visible in Play COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Maslow Maslow argues that creativity is developed through the arts. The story illustrates how the teachers support children’s creativity at each level of Maslow’s hierarchy. When teachers focus their energy on motivating chil- dren to be creative and to recognize their own power and abilities, they are encouraging children to achieve self-actualization. At Crystal’s Creative Kids, art is an important part of everyday experi ences. Opportunities to engage in art are present throughout the environ- ment. Multiple chances are offered for children to express their ideas and to think through the use of the visual arts. The teachers design the environ- ment, offer art experiences, and provide support for Colter to fulfill fun- damental levels of his human needs and move to higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy. Although not stated in the story, Colter’s basic needs for food and shelter are provided through the center’s physical structure and meals prepared by Crystal. The environment is arranged so that Colter can paint in a safe, protected area without fear of criticism, thus supporting his need for safety. The children trust the environment, but more importantly, they trust themselves. They know they can experiment freely and that their work will be valued. They know they are free to make choices and use their bodies as canvases. Colter’s need for love and belonging are supported as the teachers recognize, encourage, and value his creativity. They provide time, space, and materials for creative expression and support the creative process by offering new art opportunities that are free of preconceived messages. Through his smiles and laughter as he paints, it is evident that Colter’s esteem needs are being met. These are also signs that he feels com- petent, confident, and assured in his ability to paint on different surfaces. Maslow defines self-actualization as an ongoing process in which the goal is gaining full conscious awareness and full use of one’s own abilities (Maslow 1971). Maslow argues that children benefit from multiple opportu- nities to engage with meaningful materials and interactions. This is demon- strated in the story “My Body Is a Canvas.” Colter engages in exploration with his body, and the teachers offer him support and encouragement. Col- ter’s spontaneous enjoyment demonstrates Maslow’s theory that creativity is a process that promotes self-actualization.