Upon the preponderance of psychological literature on adolescent behavior, research indicates that children thrive in environments in which they are able to use their creativity. With the opportunity to individually express themselves, adolescence often improve their behavior, have an increased level of participation to given tasks, and have improved prosocial skills (Wright, John, Alaggia, and Sheel, 2006). The ingenuity of hands- on projects teaches adolescence to work toward goals in a variety ways (Larson and Angus, 2011). The present paper seeks to examine the effects of extracurricular project involvement, active creativity, and youth programs on the psychological development of adolescence. In addition, this current paper will provide pair information on The SEED School of Maryland and the special project conducted as part my required internship.
Creativity and Adolescent Development
Children respond in a variety of positive ways to extracurricular projects and projects that use creativity. Extracurricular projects are any projects done by the students that are outside the realm school curriculum. These projects serve the purpose of inspiring learning, growth, and knowledge to students. Projects that are organized outside of the school curriculum remove pressure from children to perform for a grade and ensure that they are working in their full realm of creativity. This is important because according to Luttrell & Parker (2001) children value creativity in literacy by reading and writing because it helps them to form their identities and figure out the world; although, these students expressed a stronger desire for reading and writing when they are not graded for it.
These projects are usually in the form of a youth program or organization. The organizations often instill a set course of values in the child. For instance, the Prodigy Cultural Arts Program (a self-regulation and arts program) is designed to decrease adverse mental health symptoms in at-risk children. The program consisted of master artists within the community that had the youth participate in special projects while teaching a moral skilled based curriculum. The results were a statistically significant decrease in children's aggression and increased academic performance (Rapp-Paglicci, Stewart, & Rowe, 2011).
Creative projects create a space for children to use their creativity to accomplish set goals. Larson and Angus (2011) posit that youth programs help children to develop critical thinking skills and learn to strategize. Results of this qualitative study found that students learned to work toward goals through organization, strategic thinking, active anticipation, use of knowledge about people, adaptive planning, transferring learning, and a variety of other skills. Organization refers to a concrete set of plans that the children would set up at the beginning of their project, while strategic planning refers to “thinking that entails a system of processes...