My daughter's pre-school visited a public school a few years ago and sat in on a kindergarten class. To supplement a book she read to the class, the teacher handed out poster-sized sheets of pre-printed pictures to small groups of children. The assignment was to color in the picture of a cow. As the children worked together, my daughter used a green crayon to color in the cow. Aghast, one of the kindergarteners said, "Cows aren't green, they're brown!" My daughter said, "They don't have to be brown. They can be green too!"
How do adults erode creativity in children? Leslie Owen Wilson describes 7 ways that we impact creativity in On Killing Creativity in Children, including surveillance, evaluation, rewards, competition, control, restricting choice and pressured expectations.