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ps and creativity

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

After reading numerous MDC hsing threads, it seems to me that it is a general opinion that school (regular public) stifles a child's natural curiosity for learning  and creativity. I must confess, this is one of the reasons we did not want our dc to attend ps. For those who have dc in a regular public school, do you feel that school has made your dc less creative than they could otherwise be or have lost a love for learning?

post #2 of 38

No. My kids are in 6th and 10th grades and they are stil highly creative and never faultered in their love of learning. They've gone to schools that encouraged creative thinking and the arts. They've been exposed to fascinating things like foriegn languages, world cultures, horticulture, engineering, ballroom dancing, greek mythology, and the list goes on. I can't tell you how many times they've raced home to learn more about something they discovered in school.

 

There was a period when DD felt like she was "bad in math" because she could barely pass the speed drills in 3rd and 4th grade. I didn't like that. However, that was a little blip we worked through and once algebra and the likes started, she had to accept that yes, being 2 grades ahead in the curriulum for your age means you are actually GOOD in math. I wouldn't have given up everything she's gotten in school because we didn't like timed math tests way back when.

 

I think the issue is really less about sending kids to school and more about the home environment changing once kids are IN school. During the preschool years, kids are encouraged to learn at home in their own style. Once elementary starts, lots of families sort of turn that off. If home is still a place where kids explore then they will continue to do so. I'm not talking about "afterschooling" where you purposely try to teach more. I'm talking about leaving the door open for extended study, taking interest in what they are learning in school and showing them ways to get more info if they want, encouraging them to pursue individual interests, ect.

post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post

After reading numerous MDC hsing threads, it seems to me that it is a general opinion that school (regular public) stifles a child's natural curiosity for learning  and creativity. I must confess, this is one of the reasons we did not want our dc to attend ps. For those who have dc in a regular public school, do you feel that school has made your dc less creative than they could otherwise be or have lost a love for learning?



Short answer--No.  Public school is only one option in the quest for answers and knowledge.  Education is for a lifetime and doesn't stop when the last school bell rings.  We have always said "I don't know.  Let's find out" when the kids have asked us questions.  And they were/are encouraged to question everything.  The down side is that, in high school, our girls were the kids that teachers either hated or loved.  Dh and I are also always learning and they see that.  You never stop learning.  The Internet and Goggle has made that easier but discernment is needed to weed out the wrong from the right information.

post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

 

I think the issue is really less about sending kids to school and more about the home environment changing once kids are IN school. During the preschool years, kids are encouraged to learn at home in their own style. Once elementary starts, lots of families sort of turn that off. If home is still a place where kids explore then they will continue to do so. I'm not talking about "afterschooling" where you purposely try to teach more. I'm talking about leaving the door open for extended study, taking interest in what they are learning in school and showing them ways to get more info if they want, encouraging them to pursue individual interests, ect.


thumb.gif  Yes. this is what I was trying to say in my post.  You said it better.

 

post #5 of 38

no

 

One of my kids really learns best in a group. Rather than traditional education turning her off to learning, it turned learning into a game, a game she wanted to win.

 

Our public school had a wonderful art teacher, and creative classroom teachers. I know it's the not the case everywhere, but in our school, school wasn't stifling at all. Kids had lots of ways to express themselves. It was common to kids to do a wrap up project at the end of unit, and it could pretty much anything -- from putting on a skit with friends to making a power point presentation to writing a report to building a diorama. 

 

My other DD has special needs and the public school, while wonderful in many ways, wasn't a great fit for her. She did have chances to be creative, but she overall was so overwhelmed that she really couldn't focus on learning. An alternative school is more ideal for her than a traditional school, and in our case it was easier to do that privately than publicly. However, the kind of program she is in *some* public school districts offer. 

 

I think you could re-read your thread to ask about traditional school, because I think that's what you are getting at. Many private schools are still traditional schools, and some public schools aren't traditional (there are charters, magnets and alternative schools that are public)

 

 

post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 


 

I think the issue is really less about sending kids to school and more about the home environment changing once kids are IN school. During the preschool years, kids are encouraged to learn at home in their own style. Once elementary starts, lots of families sort of turn that off. If home is still a place where kids explore then they will continue to do so. I'm not talking about "afterschooling" where you purposely try to teach more. I'm talking about leaving the door open for extended study, taking interest in what they are learning in school and showing them ways to get more info if they want, encouraging them to pursue individual interests, ect.


But, do you feel that kids in traditional ps have enough time to explore outside of school? I have heard many times from parents that school plus homework. plus the usual one to two extra curricular activities just about maxes out kids time. Also, do your dc attend a traditional school. With the subjects your mentioned, sounds like some other type of school? However, I'm only familiar with our area ps elementary, which is JUST THE BASICS....

 

post #7 of 38
Thread Starter 


 

I think you could re-read your thread to ask about traditional school, because I think that's what you are getting at. Many private schools are still traditional schools, and some public schools aren't traditional (there are charters, magnets and alternative schools that are public)

 

 



I say traditional ps, because in our state (WA) we don't have charter, public motessori, waldorf, art or science based elementary schools. And I'm not including private schools because in our area there is a huge variation between the privates and the public. And it is getting VERY FRUSTRATING, reading about all these positive school experiences that other dc have.... then I think maybe school would be the best option for my dc. Only to find out these positive experiences are at some alternative school or private. The only option my dc have is traditional public or hsing.

post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post
I say traditional ps, because in our state (WA) we don't have charter, public motessori, waldorf, art or science based elementary schools. And I'm not including private schools because in our area there is a huge variation between the privates and the public. And it is getting VERY FRUSTRATING, reading about all these positive school experiences that other dc have.... then I think maybe school would be the best option for my dc. Only to find out these positive experiences are at some alternative school or private. The only option my dc have is traditional public or hsing.


you are posting on an international message board, not a washing state board.

 

My kids have homeschooled, attended a traditional public school, and currently attend a private alternative school. My post on this thread was ONLY about their experience in a traditional public school, which was really good in many, many ways.

 

post #9 of 38

I hope PS doesn't stifle creativity, since that's where my kids are headed!  Of course, I believe that creativity and love of learning should be things that happen in the home, as well as at school.  Is Washington a 'school of choice' state?  In Colorado, we get to pick which school our children attend (not necessarily the neighborhood school).  I think the individual school can make a huge difference in a child's love of learning!

post #10 of 38



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

I think you could re-read your thread to ask about traditional school, because I think that's what you are getting at. Many private schools are still traditional schools, and some public schools aren't traditional (there are charters, magnets and alternative schools that are public)

  


I think this is a great point, Linda, but I'm not even sure that will give the OP the answer she needs. My DC attends a public school that is the only elementary school in our district. It is huge and appears quite traditional on the surface, but they have great teachers, a terrific principal, and seem to use a really good curriculum.  Since it is so large, they are able to have full-time, well-trained arts, music and computer instructors who are really doing terrific, creative projects with the children. And the teachers in the traditional subjects are great about encouraging the kids enthusiasm and curiosity.

 

For example, my son absolutely loves science and was always very curious in class, so his first-grade teacher nominated him for a science exploration club where he could research and do projects on science topics that interested him with the help of the school librarian/media specialist. It was a terrific experience for him, but it was one that I don't think he would have been able to have had he been at a smaller school with fewer resources. At the very small private elementary school I attended, our classroom teacher was also our art teacher, our librarian, and our computer teacher. There just would have been no one extra to run special programs like the one my son benefited from.

post #11 of 38

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post


 


But, do you feel that kids in traditional ps have enough time to explore outside of school? I have heard many times from parents that school plus homework. plus the usual one to two extra curricular activities just about maxes out kids time. Also, do your dc attend a traditional school. With the subjects your mentioned, sounds like some other type of school? However, I'm only familiar with our area ps elementary, which is JUST THE BASICS....

 


 

I'll start by saying our district is in a rural pocket... lower middle to middle class. We have a pretty average population with  My eldest was in a traditional school from K-8th grade and a specialty public school for high school. My DS went to a non-traditional public school in the same district from k-5 and will be entering a traditional middle school (though does offer electives to continue the skills he developed in elemmentary.) Both had opportunities to explore the arts through theatre, dance, fine art, choir, orchestra and band DURING school hours. Both had mini-sports leagues during lunch periods if they wanted to try different sports. Science and academic teams often met 0 period (optional period before school.) I can't tell you how many costumes we threw together for living history programs.  I could go on. This isn't a "special" district in our area. We work on a lower budget than most of the county. Much of what is offered is volunteered by the staff, community businesses or parents.  

 

My kids are busy but that doesn't mean they are less creative or have less opportunity to learn does it? They learn in school. Some subjects they adore. Other subjects not so much but then who loves EVERY subject? Only in 5th and 8th grades has homework even been noticable and that is because they are prepping for a new campus. Outside of school they still have time to read, to do their interest based activities, to try new things, to be bored. What they don't do is watch TV and spend endless hours on the computer. They budget their time wisely. When they want a more relaxed schedule, they take a break from outside activities. Yes, some periods we are constantly on the go but karate IS learning. Theatre IS learning. Piano IS learning. It's learning what THEY want to learn and isn't that the whole point?


 


 

 

post #12 of 38

 

My children attend a STEM charter--'traditional' ps, but with leeway in how things get done. Dd will continue with dance one day a week outside of school and we're going to try ds in tumbling since he's interested in it, but he hasn't taken to structured/team activities outside of school. If he has nothing after school and does his 15minutes of homework, he has at least1.5 hours of unstructured time after school (not counting travel/dinner/bathtime)--and large blocks of time on the weekends. Ds does value his down time and having it impacts his behavior so we are mindful of that.

 

Ds was only in "regular" ps for a year and I did tire of seeing the walls full of virtually identical art projects;and remembering the time and money sucking "family" art projects sent home on the weekends makes me Cuss.gif. That said, I don't think you can make blanket judgements about any type of school. I think that the teachers and administration have a lot to do with the experience at a particular school.

 

Ds doesn't do well if he isn't allowed to do his own thing often enough (related to his SNs) and this school seems to accommodate that better.


Edited by Emmeline II - 7/20/11 at 5:09am
post #13 of 38


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

My kids are busy but that doesn't mean they are less creative or have less opportunity to learn does it? They learn in school. Some subjects they adore. Other subjects not so much but then who loves EVERY subject? .... What they don't do is watch TV and spend endless hours on the computer. They budget their time wisely. When they want a more relaxed schedule, they take a break from outside activities.
 


 

Loved your post. My kids were doing very cool things at school while attending traditional school. One of my kiddos could squeeze in her homework in the car, during play rehearsal, etc. When I hear a family say that their kids don't have time to love learning or be creative because of school and their activities, I question if the child is in the right activities for them, or if what they really mean is they don't have time to watch TV.

 

I also find that often my kids' activity time is our family time. This weekend we have a swim meet. That is our family fun activity. DH and I will be there, supporting the kids and holding hands.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
 Ds does value his down time and having it impacts his behavior so we are mindful of that.
 


yes to this too. My other DD needs things calmer, lots calmer. The schedule that her sister THRIVES on would send her around the bend. So we are mindful of that. She's only in one outside thing at a time during the school year, and sometimes takes sessions off. We do what is right for each kid.

 

post #14 of 38

I don't think that my children's creativity has been stifled by being in school, either public or private.  Actually, I find that in their PS experiences now, they are exposed to far more than in ps.  My kids have art, music, dance residencies, foreign language, parents who bring in specialized crafting projects on a fairly routine basis, knitting club, 4h club, chorus, musical instument instruction, if they choose, radio and engineering...I could go on.  There's a lot, and with the exception of renting/buying instruments, there is little to no cost.  

 

I also think they have time to pursue outside interests--both of my kids have some fairly specific interests and manage to have time for them during the week.  For my middle schooler, there is a bit of a crunch when projects are due, etc., but realistically, it's not too bad, and it's a lesson in time management and choices.  I don't see the downside of that.

 

We're very aware of kids needing downtime, and we're protective of family time, weekend family activities...when it's to much we pull everyone in and take a break.

 

I have hs'ed, and I have to say that what's available to my kids on a routine, easily accessible basis in the ps system is of good quality.  I find that the teachers (it's almost always teacher led) are pretty passionate about what they're offering to the kids.

post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post


 


But, do you feel that kids in traditional ps have enough time to explore outside of school? I have heard many times from parents that school plus homework. plus the usual one to two extra curricular activities just about maxes out kids time. Also, do your dc attend a traditional school. With the subjects your mentioned, sounds like some other type of school? However, I'm only familiar with our area ps elementary, which is JUST THE BASICS....

 

Kids spend 6.5 hours a day 5 days a week in school here so even if they sleep for 12 hours a night (not something that many school age children do) they still have 5.5 hours a day for exploring the world and their interests in their own ways plus the weekends, holidays, and summers.  Homework shouldn't take up copious amounts of time, and if it does you should look at why and talk to your child's teacher about it.  In our schools the children get an hour and fifteen minutes of recess daily and about an hour a day of specials like library, PE, Music, and Health so they have a lot of time to freely explore as children and to get in touch with creativity and movement.  The district also has guidelines for homework so kids aren't swamped with busy work at home.

 

I student taught in a school that seemed to be all about the basics, but the teachers brought in assignments to help students look at things creatively through discovery based learning, they built creative choice assignments into the curriculum so students could represent their learning in a way that made sense to them, and many of the teachers set aside a large block of time for art.  The teachers were great about fostering independence and creative thinking on a daily basis and they attended a lot of classes on the side to become more engaging teachers.

 

I really suggest not basing a schooling decision on what the other parents are saying.  I have found that what other parents say about a child care center, school, or teacher is usually based on how well they think their child did in the class, how well behaved their child is in class, or how much the teacher allowed the parent to push them around.  The ratings I have had from other parents have had no bearing on how well my child does in the same setting.

post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post


 


But, do you feel that kids in traditional ps have enough time to explore outside of school? I have heard many times from parents that school plus homework. plus the usual one to two extra curricular activities just about maxes out kids time. Also, do your dc attend a traditional school. With the subjects your mentioned, sounds like some other type of school? However, I'm only familiar with our area ps elementary, which is JUST THE BASICS....

 


My kids attend a traditional PS (although it does seem to be pretty up to date.). They are also quite young(lower elementary) so this is subject to change lol. So far the short answer is no.  I think a lot really depends on the parents though. HS does allow for more free time in many cases but it's how that free time is being used that matters. Same thing with School.  My kids watch hardly any TV during the school year, they play almost no video games,(ok not counting this past year when we were burried under 6ft of snow for months on end lol) and we are careful about how many activities  they are enrolled in. I feel at their ages it's more important for them to have free time to play then it is to be in 100 different activities. By cutting down on these things it allows quite a bit of free time a day. I don't feel bad about cutting down on activities either because they do get art, music, gym etc in school. They also get a lot of days off. lol Like I don't know how people work with school age kids and not get fired. lol  

 

Learning never stops at school and they are excited about what they learn in school and come home and share it. . We are always exploring, asking questions , reading books, discussing them, doing crafts, etc. etc.  I think that sets them up for self education which is really what people need to become truly educated individuals. We still have time to go to the library every week or two, we go places on the weekends. To me it's freeing and I enjoy more because I'm not worried about how much they are learning. lol We just do things. If they learn something AWESOME if not whatever. No pressure no stress I know the basics are being covered in school. Homework does not take that much time. If it does in the elementary years I think it should be discussed with the teacher. Kids need down time to play and explore.  Parents do matter, I think where our kids are being educated (barring horrible abusive situations) doesn't always matter all that much. It's the parents and our parenting that matters. E.I. if you think play time is important you will make time for it for your family, same thing with creativity, and anything else. :) 

 

post #17 of 38
Originally Posted by meetoo View Post

Learning never stops at school and they are excited about what they learn in school and come home and share it. . We are always exploring, asking questions , reading books, discussing them, doing crafts, etc. etc.  I think that sets them up for self education which is really what people need to become truly educated individuals. We still have time to go to the library every week or two, we go places on the weekends. To me it's freeing and I enjoy more because I'm not worried about how much they are learning. lol We just do things. If they learn something AWESOME if not whatever. No pressure no stress I know the basics are being covered in school. Homework does not take that much time. If it does in the elementary years I think it should be discussed with the teacher. Kids need down time to play and explore.  Parents do matter, I think where our kids are being educated (barring horrible abusive situations) doesn't always matter all that much. It's the parents and our parenting that matters. E.I. if you think play time is important you will make time for it for your family, same thing with creativity, and anything else. :)

 

Ds is always asking questions based on things discussed in school or just the world around him. Yesterday we had to leave the pool because of thunder and lightening which prompted a lot of questions from ds, and he was talking out his understanding of weather. In some things ds is 2-3 years ahead of the level at which it is being covered in school, so we compensate at home.

 

I went to traditional public schools and it was a bad fit for me, but most everyone else seemed to be enjoying it. I was much happier in college.

 

post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post

do you feel that school has made your dc less creative than they could otherwise be or have lost a love for learning?


Absolutely, 100%... not. While my two haven't been in elementary/middle school in quite a while (a senior in HS and a sophomore in college), I am very pleased with the job their schools did. The teachers and staff were all there because they liked kids, and wanted to teach them and help them reach their fullest potentials. Therefore, they made a point of providing lots of opportunities for creative thinking, new ways of looking at issues and tasks, new experiences, etc. despite a traditional curriculum/model. Outside of school was time for us to spend together, one way or another. Homework was never an onerous issue.

 

My youngest is in a science-based magnet, where everything is taught on a college level, the kids do independent research, there is a lot of field time where they put their book-learning into practice. Yes, there is a lot of homework, but it doesn't preclude involvement in outside activities. My daughter and all of her friends are involved in some activity or another (often more than one) at their home HSs or outside - be it band, sports, drama, music, a p/t job, whatever.

 

My son went to our home HS, took a full load of AP classes, plus was involved in numerous activities - drama, chorus, a chorale outside of school, piano/guitar/composition lessons, lit mag, lath league, physics team - and worked p/t. All of those were voluntary involvements. Now, he's loving being in college because there's that much more that he can learn and experience.

 

I credit much of their successes, in large part, to their lower-school experiences.

 

post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post

After reading numerous MDC hsing threads, it seems to me that it is a general opinion that school (regular public) stifles a child's natural curiosity for learning  and creativity. I must confess, this is one of the reasons we did not want our dc to attend ps. For those who have dc in a regular public school, do you feel that school has made your dc less creative than they could otherwise be or have lost a love for learning?


Short answer - No, but my DC is still quite young in just finishing up with k4 this year.  I think Whatsnextmom said it best in her first post, that really it's not just school which fosters that love of learning/creativity, but the home environment outside of school.

 

For myself - I think my DC has found outlets for his creativity (storytelling and drawing) with some more structure in the classroom than we were able to provide consistently at home because of his younger sibling at the time.  Overall I'm not sweating the small stuff with his kindergarten years in terms of losing his love of learning, because right now he loves school and that's works for me.

post #20 of 38

Untrue.  While charters are not allowed in WA state there are indeed montessori and science based programs in some districts (districts are *highly* diverse in the state, which unfortunately can be crappy sometimes).  My own children attend a parent co-op based program in a WA state school.  In my town (though not in my district) they are getting ready to build a science school.  You have to sometimes look beyond "Montessori public" or "charter school".  What they are often called around here is "alternative education."  At least in the districts closest to me, including my own.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeteaa View Post


 



I say traditional ps, because in our state (WA) we don't have charter, public motessori, waldorf, art or science based elementary schools. And I'm not including private schools because in our area there is a huge variation between the privates and the public. And it is getting VERY FRUSTRATING, reading about all these positive school experiences that other dc have.... then I think maybe school would be the best option for my dc. Only to find out these positive experiences are at some alternative school or private. The only option my dc have is traditional public or hsing.



 

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