Mothering Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>DS is in pre-kindergarten and attends a great private school. DH and I have been incredibly impressed with the depth and scope of the curriculum. DS and his classmates are really blossoming into such interesting, well-versed little people. My one hang-up is the art class. They do various little projects in conjuction with their in-class curriculum, but also have a designated art class (different teacher) blocked out once a week. The teacher is a very talented local artist who teaches purely for the fun of it and the school administration is absolutely over the moon about her. The artwork DS has brought home is just so... blah. It's primarily uninspired crayoning, cutting, and pasting off of what appear to be worksheets. Zero creativity. Obviously I swoon over it in DS's presence when he brings it home and love anything he makes, but I'm sitting thinking to myself, "Really?!?! Is THIS all she can come up with?" It's a small class of pretty advanced, well-behaved kids. In three months there has maybe been one thing I'd really keep. The older grades do slightly more creative work, but nothing jaw-dropping. DS is in an art class once a week not associated in any way with the school and brings home the most beautiful, unique works of art.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>This is more a vent than anything. I'm not sure how to go about complaining, or even if it's something to make a big deal about since DS does get his "art fix" elsewhere. I mean, what do I say? The pre-k art projects are junk? Or am I just expecting too much out of a class for 4 and 5 year olds? It seems to be mostly about learning how to use scissors and glue. I'm on the PTO and no one has brought anything about art curriculum up this year.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,013 Posts
<p>Art at this age is really about "process" over "results." I was a preschool teacher for a few years and while we didn't do anything with worksheets, not many projects coming home were gorgeous. We could offer samples but we couldn't really "instruct" them in how to do their projects unless they specifically asked because the whole point of the developmental curriculum was for them to create entirely on their own... to figure out how to make things look like they wanted them to look. This also means we couldn't use pre-cut legs for spider hats and such. The most "hands-on" (our hands) we'd do is ask the kids to draw a picture with a sharpie and then water color it and that only happened a few times a month.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I know that some parents were dissapointed with the art coming home because it wasn't as nice as the more scripted works more academic preschools did but, for us, art time was all about the process. This art teacher might have the same philosophy.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>whatsnextmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282336/disappointed-in-art-curriculum#post_16079788"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Art at this age is really about "process" over "results." I was a preschool teacher for a few years and while we didn't do anything with worksheets, not many projects coming home were gorgeous. We could offer samples but we couldn't really "instruct" them in how to do their projects unless they specifically asked because the whole point of the developmental curriculum was for them to create entirely on their own... to figure out how to make things look like they wanted them to look. This also means we couldn't use pre-cut legs for spider hats and such. The most "hands-on" (our hands) we'd do is ask the kids to draw a picture with a sharpie and then water color it and that only happened a few times a month.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I know that some parents were dissapointed with the art coming home because it wasn't as nice as the more scripted works more academic preschools did but, for us, art time was all about the process. This art teacher might have the same philosophy.</p>
</div>
</div>
<p><br>
Ditto this:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Developmentally for 4- 5yr olds there is a big span. in the preschool, they may be dealing with kids that can cut/not cut, write/not write/ know colors/not know colors and it is a different setting than 4-6 yr olds in an 'art class' (which would be students that are interested in art already!).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I also teach preschool and we are encouraged to be as 'hands-off' as possible. We talk about the shapes/colors/etc but if a students wants to just crayon randomly with one color or color carefully with 10 colors- we let them since some kids are at different levels, or they see their friends doing the same thing or they want to go play...... I can see a paid for outside 'art class' being more direct in instruction and/or giving more suggestions (some glitter would look nice there/ can you try the circle again?/ make sure you use three colors, etc). An outside 'Art class' may also have access to more materials (a furnace, a pottery wheel, etc) than the school may have and fewer students ( it is expensive to supply clay, oils, etc to a high number of kids. The school may have given her a budget). </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Another could be class size - an outside art class may have 6 or so students. You can do A LOT more with fewer students. A PresK class could have 20. Now imagine how long it takes to pass out supplies and 'help' 20 kids in about 45 minutes AND clean up and do it again for abotu 4 or 5 other classes or  an outside art class that may have 6-8 kids and an hour and half and infinite time to clean up afterward.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Learning to use scissors and glue may be a state benchmark that they want that art teacher to complete (I know it is part of our 4 yr old curriculum/state standards to be able to cut out simple shapes, use glue appropriately, know colors, and draw a person with at least 5 body parts).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Our art philosophy is about exploration and exposure. Their art should and does look like 4-5 yr olds created it. Some of it is much more detailed and precise than other pieces of the same art. We display it all proudly. The kids are excited to see what they create. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>An artist may also not be a 'teacher' and have no idea what to do with little people.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I am not to sure about the worksheet though....we dont use worksheets at all.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,748 Posts
<p>As a teacher, I wonder if this "very talented local artist" is... well... not very good at teaching art. Being good at something and being able to teach it, especially to little kids, are two entirely different things. In fact, many times people with incredible talent for something have a difficult time teaching it because it comes so naturally and easily to them. I had a friend and teammate in high school who was a PHENOMENAL swimmer, but couldn't teach swimming because she had learned so quickly/naturally at such an early age that she didn't really remember (or know) the steps that us mere mortals had to take to get good. I was a mediocre swimmer, in the competitive sense, but ended up being a pretty darn good developmental (think 5-7 year-olds in their first year of swim team) swim coach. When I was in elementary school, we had an "artist in residence" or some such hooey who came in and "helped" us design a mural for our cafeteria. Really, she had a vision, and we just got to paint it. I don't remember learning a thing from her.</p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,737 Posts
<p>I'm guessing that you pay quite a bit for your extracurricular art class.  Around here they tend to be $150ish/kid per session (8-10 weeks), and from what I understand around 50ish of that is for supplies alone.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Keep in mind that schools cut art funding first.  When I was the art docent coordinator for our school I had a budget of $500.  For over 900 children.  Many times, materials cost even if you order in bulk can be significant.  It would be nice to use real materials (and I agree that there are ways to get around that, though at least the TOOLS shold be good, I always scraped the bottom of the barrel and begged for real tools and multiuse supplies like pastels and watercolors, even though I couldn't order a lot of single-use consumable)--but esp. if this teacher has never been limited to like .50 or less per student for the entire year--she may be doing cheaper projects throughout most of the year and saving for just 1 or 2 real complete projects.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Have you asked what her budget is?</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
387 Posts
<p>Susan Striker, the author of the Anti-Coloring Books, has two books on preschoolers and art that are very informative: <em>Please Touch</em> and <em><span>Young at Art: Teaching Toddlers Self-Expression, Problem-Solving Skills, and an Appreciation for Art</span></em><span>.  In <em>Young at Art</em>, she points out that the purpose of art lessons in preschool is to introduce children to art materials, including messy ones like clay and painting.  Are the teachers and/or parents so worried about keeping the children clean that the children cannot use messy materials.  If so, the teacher probably feels obligated to only color and paste.</span></p>
<p> </p>
<p><span>I also want to second that most kindergarteners' art is not that beautiful.  Developmentally, they are not able to produce masterpieces. </span></p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,139 Posts
<p>Is  your dc enjoying art at school? At this age, it should be about the process and not the product.  Like Mama Shifra, I like the Susan Striker book, too.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Sometimes, art teachers keep coloring book pages for kids to do when they finish their larger works early.  This gives them an activity to occupy them because they work at a different pace from their peers;  would this be a possibility at your dc's school?  We get larger works of art back at conferences after they have been displayed in the school.  </p>
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,701 Posts
<p>It sucks that the art is so lame.  At that age they should be exploring different media not coloring and cutting out worksheets.  Have you thought about getting a book with art ideas for the teacher as a Christmas present.  The art won't be fancy or a masterpiece, but it should be more meaningful than a worksheet and that will be worth saving.  There is a lot of art that preschool children can do that goes beyond coloring and cutting, we do a lot more than that in the infant room I am currently in and by preschool kids are exploring all sorts of materials on a daily basis despite having no curriculum.  I think you should also ask the teachers if there is a free art station in the class where kids can go to explore and create without limits. </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,706 Posts
<p>Just scanned some of the responses, but have you ever heard of Monart?  My children attend a charter Montessori school and this is the program they do.  At the end of the year, they mount all their art work on boards and we have an "Art Walk".  It's really awesome to see all the different interpretations.  I know very little about art, but i know that Monart teaches the elements of design and my kids have LOVED it! They even do summer camps!</p>
<p> </p>
<p><a href="http://monart.com/" target="_blank">http://monart.com/</a></p>
<p> </p>
<p>ETA:  She also has a book:  <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FDrawing-Children-Mona-Brookes%2Fdp%2F0874778271%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1292277880%26sr%3D8-1" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Children-Mona-Brookes/dp/0874778271/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1292277880&sr=8-1</a></p>
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top