Term of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Marla Morris

Committee Member 1

John Weaver

Committee Member 2

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 3

Mary Aswell Doll

Committee Member 3 Email



Generalizations are made regarding the importance of creativity because creativity is considered to be the hallmark that sets humans apart from other animals. Creativity is a highly coveted gift that allows people the outlet by which to achieve greater joy, fulfillment, and meaning in their lives. However, relatively little is known about the origins of creativity and how to achieve greater creativity. Hoping to improve the quality of life of individuals and society, this dissertation examines the creativity that first springs up between a child and parent. In researching the relationship between children and parents, I draw heavily from the theories of Dr. Donald W. Winnicott, an English pediatrician and psychoanalyst who lived from 1896 to 1971. Winnicott's experience with children enabled him to develop many innovative and lasting contributions to psychoanalytic theory, including his transitional object and potential space theories, which explain the first creative act of a child using its imagination to create his or her reality. In addition to Winnicott, I utilize the works of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, James Hillman, Marion Milner, Hanna Segal, Michael Parsons, Michael Eigen, Christopher Bollas, and Adam Phillips, who have theorized psychoanalytic principles of creativity and who comprise the first body of literature. The second body of literature that addresses the curriculum aspects of creativity includes Maxine Greene, Madeleine Grumet, Marla Morris, Mary Aswell Doll, Deborah Britzman, and Martha Nussbaum. These authors are directly concerned with sparking creativity and imagination through literature in students. Witnessing firsthand transitional phenomena in my own children, I see the offshoots of transitional phenomena in my language arts classroom. In the curriculum studies field, much has been written about the relationships between students and teachers, but much more needs to be explored as to the beginning relationship between parent and child. Further, the connection between this first relationship between mother and child and its affects on a child's remaining formal education needs to be examined more completely. My contribution to the field of Curriculum Studies is to address the earliest relationship between parents and children and theorize how this initial relationship affects the continued education of children today. This work examines the connection between the first transitional phenomena that occur between the child and parents and the subsequent ability of the child to use transitional phenomena through language arts to enhance the ability to live creatively.

Research Data and Supplementary Material