creative project or assembly line product.... - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 12 Old 09-26-2006, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds brings home lovely art projects from preschool but where is the creativity. It seems like everything is cut out for him and ready to asseble with specific instructions. Does anyone else feel this about school projects?
Its kind of creepy.
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#2 of 12 Old 09-27-2006, 12:06 AM
 
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I have noticed this about some preschools- they have these "assembly line" projects that seem more aimed at pleasing the parents than anything to do with the kids. I was lucky to have several preschools near me that take a process-oriented approach instead- "it's the process, not the product." However, I think there is a place for the projects like you describe. One skill kids are working on in preschool is following directions, and art projects are a good vehicle for learning this. Hopefully your child's preschool is providing a balance of adult-directed art projects and opportunities to work with art materials in an open-ended fashion. Note that sometimes the process-oriented projects don't result in a "product" that can be sent home, so maybe your child is doing more of this than you realize. If not, it is always something you could supplement at home if you are otherwise happy with the school.
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#3 of 12 Old 09-27-2006, 01:10 AM
 
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I hear ya! My kids bring this type of thing home from our gym day care all the time - I hate it! I think it is very important to combat this at home by letting the child explore with all kinds of materials with no theme in mind - painting, clay, drawing, collage, etc. - just put the stuff out and let them have at it. It's so disappointing that preschools all seem to be going the assembly-line way. When I pick up my kid's art at the gym - I'm tempted to thank the teacher for her nice picture (but they already think I'm a weirdo!). My kids go to a Waldorf preschool, and they don't do this assembly line thing, but they still don't give them a lot of leeway with the art materials, IMO.
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#4 of 12 Old 09-27-2006, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yea, at home I just put a bunch of stuff, paper, scissors, glue, sequins, feathers, dried beans, playdoh, paint, markers,etc out and let him do what he wants. He gets so caught up on doing everything "correctly" and I worry that preschool is just catering to this.
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#5 of 12 Old 09-28-2006, 12:29 AM
 
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Here it depends on the age. in 3yo playschool everything is cut out for them(especially at the beginning of the year). It is done because there are alot of kids who are 3 who cannot cut much less around anything in a way that the parents would recognize what it is. In 4yo playschool the kids are expected to cut them out themsevles(unless it's small or tricky stuff). For the gluing things on the kids are given instructions but can do it however they want to. IE my 4yo did lions at school. They cut out the face themselves but the teachers had the ears already cut. Then they were to glue hair around the plate for the mane. My dd got po'd at the teachers because she didn't want any hair and they put 3 strands on for her. She has some speech issues and they didn't know that she didn't want any on.
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#6 of 12 Old 09-28-2006, 01:36 AM
 
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There's some art educator (Susan Striker?) who points out that "school art" is a genre unto itself. Where else do you see prefab diecut pumpkins with the artist's name on them? Or as my French artiste alter ego says, ZEES EES NOT ART, AND I DETEST IT! Is it for parents to recognize or children to create? Bleh. I had one Y teacher freak out on my daughter for not putting the jack o lantern's mouth in the right place.

What, doesn't everyone have a French artiste alter ego?

*And, this is different from gals who know how to get their craft on. When a child is older, they get really into crafts and personalizing them in cool ways. But a three year old gluing santa's beard using cotton balls, FEH!
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#7 of 12 Old 09-28-2006, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Flyingspaghettimama, love the lingo
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#8 of 12 Old 09-29-2006, 11:27 AM
 
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I'm helping out in my DD's 4k class, and I'm always at the craft table. The teacher has an example of the week's project set out and each day 4 of the students get to do the project.... I come mid-week so I see what many of the other kids have done before my group goes. I swear the moms that come before me must be holding the scissors for these kids and guiding the paintbrush - my group always finishes with quite abstract interpretations of the teacher's example. Which I LOVE! But this week I was curious if the teacher was going to ask me to not return to help anymore.

Rachel, married to Andy, mama to Aubrey, Lauren, Sasha, and *surprise* Baby #4, due November, 2011
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#9 of 12 Old 09-29-2006, 04:57 PM
 
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I like the more creative projects, myself. But I have to say, my daughter and a lot of the other kids seem to get very excited about doing projects where it turns out "right." She's a pretty creative kid, but she also likes doing those "glue the foam pieces to look like the picture" projects.
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#10 of 12 Old 09-29-2006, 07:08 PM
 
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It seems to me that there is a difference in the goal and value of both creative artwork and assembly line projects. The assembly line projects develop children's ability to follow sequenced directions or "piece" things together towards a defined end. That is useful for sewing from a pattern, cooking from a recipe, doing a home remodeling project, putting on a Maya Wrap ....

OTH - kids need to have the chance to get dirty and create their own vision too. I would try to balance out the assembly line projects with more creative open projects at home, but figure they are honing the skills our kids might need someday.

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#11 of 12 Old 09-30-2006, 02:15 AM
 
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The really unfortunate thing about these cookie-cutter crafts is that is many cases, the child does not have access to art materials at home, or if they do, they are not allowed to freely explore with them, and the parents believe that the preschools are taking care of this need (to be creative) when they are just NOT! I'd like to think that these projects are honing valuable skills, but truly I think they are just wasting the children's time (esp. the 2 and 3 year-olds!) - following patterns and recipes can be done, more appropriately IMO, when they are older. This topic is kind of a sore spot with me, so I'll shut up now : .
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#12 of 12 Old 09-30-2006, 04:09 AM
 
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Does the teacher welcome parents to come in and do activities with the class? At my school the K teacher has a perent come in every once in while to lead some sort of craft. Maybe you could visit and teach the kids some sort of open-ended, natural craft? At least they'd get to do that once and maybe you could teach them a skill they'd use later too.
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