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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 14 CHAPTER 1 and Hyson 2012). The way a child approaches learning is a strong predictor of his later success in school. One study showed that young children with higher levels of attentiveness, task persistence, eagerness to learn, learning independence, flexi- bility, and organizational skills generally did better in literacy and math at the end of the kindergarten school year and the beginning of their first-​grade year (Conn-​ Powers 2006). You will find many examples in this book of children learning task persistence and problem solving, such as Ms. Spadola’s wood construction study featured in chapter 5. She found that children were able to stay focused when provided with the time, materials, and encouragement to solve problems that arose as they worked: “As part of my research for a class I was taking, I tracked the amount of time children stayed focused while at the wood construction center as well as their persistence and problem solving. I noticed that children who usually weren’t motivated were now highly focused and engaged, especially one child who had difficulty transition- ing to school in the morning.” Encouraging Creativity and Aesthetic Awareness Play-​based education in preschool and kindergarten gives children a chance to develop their creativity in balanced ways. It supports the overall healthy development of children and prepares them for the 21st century workplace where creativity is highly valued. Joan Almon, “It’s Playtime!” Despite the recognition of creativity and innovation as important approaches to learning in the twenty-​first century, in our schools creativity is seldom given weight equal to skills such as persistence and self-​regulation. Howard Gardner, best known for his theory of multiple intelligences and studies on creativity, describes the creative individual as one who solves problems, makes products, raises ques- tions, poses new ideas, and “thinks outside the box.” To support young children’s creativity, Gardner says, we need to give them time for thinking and reflection, to focus on their strengths and not worry so much about their weaknesses. Studies show highly creative children can often be challenging and difficult and may have trouble making friends; they may also require more adult support in developing their social skills and seeing defeat as a learning opportunity. We often tell children that their creative expressions or ideas are “great,” but we need to help them get better by stretching their thinking and by posing new challenges (Gardner 2010). COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL