At age 21, I was already a wife and mother to a one year old. I was also a fulltime student on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and a preschool teacher on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I taught a two-year-old class at a Mother's day out. At this particular preschool, crafts were an essential part to each day. They needed to be planned, supplies gathered and executed. However, I found that it was extremely rare that the children were ever able to complete even some of the project on their own. And so, I would neatly assemble 8 crafts, often with a fingerprint or two from the little one, and send them home.
I began to feel that the absurdity of this practice should be obvious to all. However, I was mistaken. Many, many teachers are convinced that craft projects are a necessary part to any classroom experience. Now, I am certainly not knocking creative activities. I think that it is wonderful for children to experiment with watercolors and different types of papers, crayons and clay. As they grow older, and more capable, I love the idea of learning through doing, especially when studying the great artists. What I am talking about here is a three-year-old teacher feeling compelled to provide supplies for the children to create their own cardboard Noah's Ark (which they really can't do) and send it home only to be stomped on in the car and sent directly to the garbage can. I, for one, really don't have the space in my home for acquiring 25 painted toilet paper tubes shaped into a Christmas tree by my child's teacher.
With homeschooling, we are free from the obligation to have 'craft time' as our principal shares my sentiments. However, I recently visited a homeschool coop where this practice is alive and well in the 3 & 4 year olds classroom. Upon exiting the building at the end of the day, I observed about 12 green paper towel rolls standing up in green paper bowls with flowers coming out the top. What was obvious was that no child had assembled them, what was not obvious was exactly what they were supposed to be.
If you are a pro-crafter, I hope that I have not extremely offended you but rather inspired you to think outside the crafting box. If you were already an anti-crafter, I hope that I have encouraged you to be more vocal in your efforts to stop the preschool cheese. If you were undecided, I hope that you have now made up your mind.
Also, I apologize for my harsh tone. I am acquainted with many pro-crafting women who I deem to be very kind and caring. I just happen to disagree with them on this issue.