Remember when you attempted to put together your child’s first instructions-enclosed, all-parts-included, no-batteries-required toy? So many steps had to be done a certain way that you had to refer to the instructions many times. And if you are like most of us, you felt uncertain, inept, and uncoordinated.
When a child is asked to duplicate a given pattern, following a series of steps that result in an end product, the same feelings emerge. Class craft projects may be cute to put in the family scrapbook or nice to send to Grandma, but they do little for your child’s self-esteem, and cognitive development, and creativity.
That is why blank paper, scissors, paint, markers, glue, and a variety of other materials to choose from are available at all times in our classrooms. Children are encouraged to use the materials to make their own creations.
When we do a special art activity with children, we may introduce a new material or even demonstrate possible ways to use some tools and materials, but the children themselves decide what they want to create and how. The children care more, learn more, and enjoy an activity more when they produce their own creations – not copies of ours!
* At the ELC, we do both kinds of projects. Some are used as learning projects and others are “art” with no specific end-product in mind.