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Creativity in Pre-school Education

About the project

CREANET was a Comenius network submitted under the Lifelong Learing Programme in 2010 and ended up in 2013. The project was aimed at developing a European forum for discussion, research, exchange of best practices on creativity in pre-school education from a multidisciplinary and cross-institutional perspective. In particular, the theme of creativity has been approached by focusing on two specific aspects: creativity and contexts (spaces, materials, relations) and expressive languages (artistic and verbal languages, body language).

The network implemented three main sets of activities:

  1. The research activities aimed at developing a European approach to creativity in pre-schools through literature review, including fieldwork and action-research.
  2. The exchange of best practices among pre-schools, which took place in the framework of two working groups on contexts and expressive languages.
  3. The annual conferences aimed at developing new projects, presenting the results of the research and the exchange of best practices and promote the debate among policymakers on issues related to creativity in pre-school education.

At the end of the project the main products were: some guidelines on creativity in the pre-school educational context (aimed at policy/decision makers); a virtual exhibition showcasing the best practices of the network, an edited academic book resulting from the work done by the universities.


  1. To create a European forum for discussion for those interested in creativity in the pre-school context.
  2. To identify, compare and exchange the methodologies, approaches and environments favouring the development of creativity among children and teachers in the countries involved
  3. To increase the quality of the educational offer by promoting the competences/skills of the pre-school teaching staff on the issue of creativity
  4. To use creativity as a means to favour educational and social inclusion of children and families belonging to minority and/or disadvantaged groups
  5. To strengthen the European dimension referred to the Lifelong Learning Programme and to fostering creativity from the earliest stages of development.
    The network served as an opportunity for spreading information about research and best practices identified in the different countries. More projects in the context of the LLP will be focusing on creativity in the pre-school context. Spill over effects and the development of new actions were also expected across the educational systems (networking and sharing of information) also in a multi-sector perspective (e.g. social inclusion and integration are more and more connected to creativity).


First transnational conference
5/7 may 2011
Beja (PT)

WG Expressive language
30 november/ 2 december 2011
Norrköping (SE)

Coordination and research meeting
12/14 December 2011
Jyväskylä (FI)

WG Context
16/18 January 2012
Scandiano (IT)

Second transnational conference
23/25 May 2012
Klaipeda (LT)

Coordination and research meeting
8/10 January 2013
Murcia (ES)

WG Contexts
29/31 January 2013
Enzkreis (DE)

WG Expressive language
26/28 February 2013
Odense (DK)

Third transnational conference
12/14 September 2013
Scandiano (IT)


The network has produced 2 academic books, one publication for the pre-school teachers (translated in 7 languages), guidelines on creativity in the pre-school educational context (aimed at policy/decision makers); a USB including a virtual exhibition showcasing 48 best practices of the network. The actual participation in the transnational activities (excluding those 1863 that attended the local/national dissemination seminars) has been the following:

  • 115 academics
  • 493 pre-schools teachers were present
  • 125 decision makers and civil servants

The main elements emerged from the research will be used in the partner Universities as materials for courses, lectures and seminars. As the new Erasmus+ Programme will come into being the University of Reggio Emilia and Modena will take the lead in developing an in-service training course on “Creativity in ECEC” in partnership with some of the Universities that participated in CREANET and provide therefore an opportunity for practitioners.

The participating local authorities will follow up the proposed recommendation on creativity in pre-school education by adopting different measures. The municipalities of Norrkoping (SE) Liepaja (LV)  and Scandiano (IT) are in the process of establishing Creativity Centers at local level. Actions will be also undertaken to verify the possibility of exploiting the results of the network through the creation of new follow-up projects.

As a result of the network in 2013 a Comenius partnership on “improving pedagogical continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces” involving pre-schools from IT, SE, LT,HR which participated in the project as associated partners, will be addressing some of the elements emerged from the research process. In November 2013 a Comenius Regio on “Quality in pre-school education” involving the Parma Province (Ass Partner) and Norrkoping Municipality (SE). The project will build on some of the results of CREANET.


The main results of the project have been two publications:

  • Providing creative context – educational practices on creativity in European pre-schools: This booklet collects 20 examples how pedagogues in different countries work with creativity. It describes conditions offered, the methods used and the approach taken to give children the chance to express themselves, not only discovering but also creating their world. It is meant as a source of inspiration for pedagogues: The idea is not to take it as a “cook book” with all ingredients and the perfect recipe, but to learn from the colleagues’ experiences, using their starting ideas, tools and material or their understanding of the role of the adult as a partner of the child. All articles have been written by the pedagogues themselves. 
  • Creativity in pre-schools education: The book is organized in four sections: (1) the national literature reviews on creativity; (2) the transnational literature review and thematic analysis of creativity in pre-school education; (3) the perspective of the teachers on creativity; (4) creativity and pre-school education practices.
News from the Project
Click here to download the final publication
Click here to download the Literature Review
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