As a blogger, I sometimes get quite a rainbow of different people's opinions after I click "post". Not everyone shares the same views in life, so I would expect that there will be many who might not agree with everything I say in here. On occasion, I get a rare comment that leaves me scratching my head. I saved two of these comments in particular to post about on a later date... and since I'm out of good blog material at the moment, I thought I would give you a chuckle by letting you read one of them (below).
The last comment was about religious and spiritual matters. This one is about teaching... or rather, the detrimental effects of arts and crafts on children. I warned you that it was rather odd, didn't I? Anyway... I'll let the comment speak for itself, and for your enjoyment, I'll share my response that I made in my comments section back then... and included in my comment was a comment from my buddy Cindy (who is a seriously funny gal) that she emailed me. The original post and a photo of the craft that upset this reader can be found at the link in this sentence or under the title of this post. Be sure to stop over so you can see it - it's lovely!
Commence head-scratching on 3, 2, 1...
"I just have to say that I think this is a great diorama that can be used for visual display. It appears that quite a lot of time and effort was put into it. I am currently an education major myself, and, within the year, plan on teaching children from grades one through six.
While I think this could be a fun object for students to look at, it (at least to me) is an activity that will come to hinder a child’s performance in and out of school.
For adults, this activity may seem enjoyable: something to clear the head and release the stress and tension of the daily grind. But think about how it would be for a child to construct this. When considering that a child’s motor skills aren’t really even fully developed until their early adult years, this task would unquestioningly frustrate a child to the boiling point..
Also, it should be noted that there is no creative aspect to this activity. The child is merely coloring inside the lines; cutting out patterns presented before them; and gluing them into a shoe box. Where’s the imagination? Where’s the critical thinking? Where’s the exploration? What exactly are they learning?
Now, I should point out that I am not in any way trying to be disrespectful. After three years of schooling as an education major, I just have to say that this activity is developmentally inappropriate for any child, especially one at the kindergarten level (as assumed in the subtitle KinderCrafts).
Again, please don’t take this message the wrong way. But looking from a developmental standpoint, this activity is extremely inappropriate, and detrimental to a child’s well being."
I think I should give you a moment to shut your mouth and stop staring at your screen in disbelief (or stop laughing; whichever you are doing). Yes, that comment just takes the wind out of you, doesn't it? It is almost stranger than fiction. These are today's education majors, people... and we thought the public school system was already in trouble!
After I collected myself and realized that this person must have been serious, here was my response (my buddy Cindy's emailed comments are enclosed within this blockquote as well):
"Christopher... your comment was just too funny. At first, I thought maybe you were joking, but now I think you may have been serious. I sent your comment to my friend who came over with her two boys to do this project with me at my house and here was her response:Thanks for the comments - Keep them coming. Some weeks, a kind word is all that keeps this blog in business.
"Heather, my kids are still in therapy. Whenever they have nightmares, the first thing out of their mouths is "It's those dioramas you made us do two years ago!! I'm still frustrated to the point of boiling!"
Pulease. This guy is too funny. If he can't see the imagination and creativity in purple-glittered volcanoes and Crayola dinosaurs, then he's living in his own la-la-land.
Note that he's only a 3rd year education student. It's his duty to point out the flaws in his fellow human-beings. Presumably he's without children of his own. He won't know anything about the real world until he actually gets out and about in it."
Without sounding rude, I would like to say that I'm not sure where you got your information on the facts about children and motor skills... but it has been my observation in life (as a child previously and now watching my own children) that they are capable of doing a lot more than we think they are. I watched other people draw as a child and became able to draw at a VERY early age. I was drawing very well on the back of church attendance cards when I was practically still in diapers.
My children enjoyed the project in this post because of these fun things about it:
1. They got to see their friends (two other little boys came over to do this with them)
2. They got to take time away from regular schoolwork to do an art project (I think kids need stress release also)
3. They got to paint the back of the box blue (sky) - I don't know if you know this yet, but kids love paint. They don't care WHAT you let them paint, they love it! My kids also helped me paint my kitchen walls (another job for adults).
4. They got to rip up construction paper and watch me cut some. They got to cut their dinosaurs out, and they got to wad up paper to use as rocks. My kids were in First and Second grade during this project. It was near the end of the school year. They still like cutting, wadding up paper, and tearing it. How is that beyond their motor skills? Where in the world did you get your information that a child's motor skills are not fully developed until their early adult years? Have you seen the painting that I did at the age of 11 on my Favorite Paintings post (see this link for my copy of Robert Yarber's "Falling in Love")? How do you explain Mozart and all the other child prodigies? You should let a child do and explore things and not limit them by what YOU think they can accomplish. The Native Indians used to teach their children how to ride horses without saddles by the age of 6! Young girls tanned the skins of deer along side their mothers. Pioneer children helped with back-breaking chores on the farm. Children will excel when you respect them as people and allow them to create their own expectations for success. With limited supervision, they are able to do almost anything. My friend's son who is only 8 can cook you a plate of eggs all by himself.
5. They got to color dinosaurs. This is actually a learning experience as well. They were learning what different dinosaurs look like (as I'm sure I didn't know how to draw them all). They got to be creative and color them whatever colors they liked. Kaden made his triceratops rainbow-colored. In case you didn't know this, many kids ENJOY coloring books. My daughter is STILL coloring in some of her free time of her own free will. She's 7. Sometimes I will even color with her! Coloring may not be the most creative thing you can do, but it is enjoyable and a mindless stress reliever.
6. They got to create a river/pond and bank with sand and ModPodge. This part of the activity was very fun. I helped them to design their water and they got to dust the glue with sand and ModPodge over their blue water to make it become glossy and shiny like real water. The kids really like to look at that part of the diorama. It is hard to see in the picture, I realize. We had sand in the garage in a bucket that they used, and they went upstairs to their rooms and got a few playground rocks they had collected and added some of them as well. To a 6 and 8 year old, this would seem creative, I'm sure!
7. They got to make puffy clouds and add glitter to their purple volcano. Glitter is always fun for a kid. I don't care what your "professors" have taught you. Girls especially love glitter. My son is a volcano nut, so this was his favorite part of the diorama as well.
8. The kids had something PRETTY that they COMPLETED together and with ME and FRIENDS that they could LOOK AT to REMEMBER how much FUN THEY HAD. They are quite attached to them. They would NOT let me throw them out. They are in storage right now because they made me pack them so they could see them again when we finally bought another house.
I look forward to getting them out again and letting them put them on their dressers.
Crafts are really not such a bad thing... you should get married and have a few kids of your own... and then do some with them!"
God bless each of you... and have a great week!
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