Monday, November 10, 2008

School art projects

I have a HUGE bin full of my kids' art projects. I'm sure all of you do. I know you keep each & every scrap of paper that your kid has drawn / scribbled on right? I thought so.

Well, I only keep the top 10%...the creme de la creme...of the art projects.

But, I have a pet peeve when it comes to kid art projects.

You see, I used to teach an after school program to low income children. One day I planned a project where we were using different items to make a collage. Some of the items were feathers, bit of scrap paper, buttons, broken plastic toy bits, dried beans, peas, noodles...and much more.

The kids were all sitting around the table w/ their glue, paper & bowls of treaures to start their project. I walked around supervising. Helping little ones squeeze the bottle. Encouraging. Whatever.

Some kids were just dumping stuff on the paper. Some were drawing a pattern & being very precise. But there were 3 kids, 2 boys & a girl, all siblings. They were picking out the dried beans, dries peas & pasta. The kids were stuffing those specific items into their pockets.

I watched for a minute until it clicked. These kids were stealing only the food items. They were hungry.

I seized that moment to say "STOP". I explained that I just realized that maybe we should be using such a valuable resource, such as food, for art. We take food for granted in our country. And here I was gluing it down while 3 kids in my class were hungry.

I gathered up the last of the food items & carefully stuck them into the eldest boys' backpack. I didn't have to say anything. He knew, that I knew.

I will never use food as a craft project again. I also encourage my kids to say no when it comes to projects at school that use food items as craft supplies. When a craft project comes home that does use food, I simply tell my story to the teacher.

Whatcha think? Should food be allowed for craft projects at school or daycare?


natedavidscott said...

didn't see that twist coming at the end. interesting point. i don't necessarily see the problem with using food as art, but if the choice is between making art and feeding the hungry, the hungry win hands down.

Tam said...

dang. i dont think so now.

never thought of it. and im not proud of that either.



Jen (a.k.a. motor mouth) said...

I won't open a new box/bag of something to make art, however at the school, if there is stale bread, peas, beans, cereal, we put it all into a bin and use that for art.
Good food for thought (no pun intended either :) )

Mommy Scott said...

that's an excellent point - I agree with Jen that if it's an issue of buying a bag of food or pasta just to use for art when indeed there ARE children and adults really going hungry around the world - I think it's foolish and wasteful. It is yet another thing to use up something that would go bad otherwise (close to expiration date OR already opened and not going to be used any time soon, etc).

mandy said...

I never thought about that before. ouch

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I think a lot of people go bizerk and talk out of both sides. IF you are really really going to use that food to feed people, and make a lesson out of it to talk to the students about people who are hungry - then do it and feed people...but if you are just going to stop doing it for sake of political correctness, then it doesn't do anything but use different supplies and the students don't learn anything about starving people. I think you are an incredible example for your children Mandy. Thank you!

photoqueen said...

Wow, what a story. I'd never thought about that before...