Art vs. Crafts

All children should have some form of creative expression in their lives. It aids creativity in problem solving in every other subject. Unfortunately, many students are never truly allowed this. I have recently discovered that several elementary schools in my area are cutting their art programs. I know many districts do this when budgets are cut. Art, for them, often becomes crafts. I have no problem with crafts and they can even leave room for creative expression when done right. However, 'glue this here, this here, and that there' involves no creativity whatsoever and should not be considered art. When I wanted preschool students to make a snowman with paper shapes, I showed them a snowman and let them do it how they wanted. No, it was not going to look like a snowman and they may even decide that it isn't one. But that's ok. If I wanted their snowman to look like mine, I would give them exact instructions and guide them. This would not be art. They were learning to follow directions and how to mimic. While good and essential skills, there was no creativity involved. It's the same with elementary school. Kids need room to be creative. All this does not at all mean that art - drawing, painting, etc. - is the only form of creative expression. It is simply one of the most common and easier ways to allow kids to be creative. So please, allow children to show their creativity.


Valerie R.

Experienced Elementary Teacher

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