Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cute and Creative

One of the biggest challenges for me working in the world of early childhood education is that I'm surrounded by "cute" ideas. I see them in my hallway, on Pinterest, on Twitter. Now I am not judging these teachers, but "cute" is just not my philosophy. If all the products are exactly the same that is not an art project, in my opinion it's a craft. For me, it's important that the students learn how to be creative and develop their imaginations. Not to mention, everything we do is an opportunity to apply what they have learned. And if the teacher is doing more work to cut out and decorate a cute template, then how are the students showing what they learned? We can add rigor to an activity without losing the developmental appropriateness.

So holidays like Mother's Day are difficult for me. Many teachers send pre-printed poems and again, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. But I need my projects to show my students' creativity. This is what I have done for the past few years. I take a picture of them and they do the rest of the work. They paint the canvas and then place the star stickers as they would like. We end up with a variety of designs and they can be proud of the work they put into it. To me, it's not important that it looks nice, but that the students can express themselves creatively and their personalities come through. It will always be "cute" the parents anyway.

Here are some examples from this year:

This student even wanted to leave the white heart when she painted the background.

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