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No more Copycat Crafts

Faigie Kobre

Art isn’t just a fun school activity for children. Its primary goal is to teach foundational skills. But if your kids are just doing the “cookie-cutter” crafts that are pervasive in schools, they may be missing out on crucial development and the chance to discover their own creativity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Shuli, your seventh child, comes home from preschool carrying a paper plate with a gray lump on it, and a brown ladder pointing upward. “It’s the stones Yaakov slept on, and the ladder from his dream,” she proudly tells you. Ah, right, you think, parshas Vayetzei is coming. You’ve seen this project before.Leah brought home the same exact ladder last year; Moshe the year before; and Avi two years before that. As a matter of fact, you’ve seen the same ladder seven times — and all from different schools. In your basement, you have a collection of school projects, all nearly identical. A pile of menorahs, each one a replica of the next. Seven Pesach pillows that are so beautiful, it’s clear the teacher did most of the work herself. (When you said something to the teacher, she replied, “But your son did so much! Look how he colored the matzah brown, and pasted the fabric Kiddush cup exactly where I told him to.”) There are also seven matching flower projects for Shavuos — the same type of flower, the same range of colors. What’s wrong with this picture? Is the problem that these “creative” projects require very little of your child’s actual creativity? Or that, as is the case with some of the more elaborate crafts, your child did next to nothing? What about the fact that, despite how incredibly different your children are, they come home with artwork that is exactly alike?

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