Art Education Question - Mothering Forums
Learning at School > Art Education Question
PM's Avatar PM 05:30 AM 02-14-2005
Could someone tell if there is any value in having all the children in a preschool class copy the same painting/sculpture/drawing/paper-cut-out-glue-thingy work ALL the time? In the ten months my dd spent at preschool she never produced an original piece of art. I've taken her out now, for many reasons, and I'd like to give this as one of them, but I want to be prepared with arguments. I mean, I suppose my personal preference for creative work should be enough, but I still want to know more about this before I bring it up.


lauren's Avatar lauren 04:10 PM 02-14-2005
I often have a gripe about this too, in public school settings. But I think at the preschool level they are working mostly on cutting skills, staying in the lines (for fine motor purposes, not because it's "better" to stay in the lines!) and all those other manual dexterity things, which I believe is why they are all doing these same sorts of activities. Maybe a preschool teacher can help us out more here!
Wilhemina's Avatar Wilhemina 04:27 PM 02-14-2005
I found this article:

The process of art is more important than the final product. If you force all children to create identical art pieces using the same process and materials, the children will not experience the opportunity to drive the side streets. In allowing children to explore you run the risk that some children will get lost in the art project and may not reach their destination. But is it a bad thing for a child to get so involved in mixing paint colors that he or she doesn't complete his or her painting? The answer is no. The child may learn more from the exploration of paint colors than from having a "nice finished project."

Lauren is right. There are times activities are designed specifically to focus on a skill (tracing, cutting), but MOST art activities should be open ended to:
1. foster creativitiy and imagination
2. encourage exploration of the media, or the idea of "art" of the "subject" of the art, of the world!
3. keep from discouraging students by holding them to the impossible standard of an adult's "perfect" example
4. remind students that not everything in school or in life has a right or wrong answer.

PM's Avatar PM 01:13 AM 02-15-2005

They do very elaborate things. It's not basic stuff, at all. But these are not my dd's creations. We have one of her paintings on the fridge, just because I like it. It's a white bunny on a painted dark blue blackgroud; there's snow falling and there's a birch tree. Very pretty. But I could never say, "Look at what my dd painted!"

The cut-out stuff is also very elaborate.

Anyway, thanks for the validation!

Love the part about conforming to the adult's perfect example. My dd is extremely sensitive to "not doing things perfectly." I think it was really stressing her out, even though she was probably the second best student (I often saw all the examples -- and I know "best" sounds terrible, just trying to explain).
Clarity's Avatar Clarity 08:57 PM 02-15-2005
We are in a nice compromise art class at our community center for kids 2-5. The teacher does NOT make or show an example which is for us, enormously helpful. Each child get the same materials, and sometimes the components are premade, like a wooden tray. But the craft focus rather than free-form art is ok with me because dd is so much happier not trying to make hers look like the teacher's. We do more free-form stuff at home - lot of cutting paper and gluing.

A lot of the moms have to try really hard not to interfere, or help, or "improve" but rather to let them go. My interference is usually along the lines of "we need to let the paint dry, so you can use the glue on the decorations - or they will fall off". Which dd is ok with, but my niece is younger and needs to be allowed to keep going. So we glue her pieces again afterwards if we plan on keeping it.

My goal is to head towards a situation where she can select her own materials, too - but until I find that, this is working pretty well.