I visited an Art room at school yesterday, and I didn’t want to leave; it was joyfully cluttered, over-flowing with activity, and it smelled of warm crayons. The Art teacher looked so comfortable in her paint-splattered smock, and she welcomed me with such a big smile, that it made me feel like a child again.
Our children’s lives are far more controlled now; school days start at 7:58am (not 7:59am, or you’ll get a tardy slip), they are allowed exactly 1 1/2 minutes to go to the bathroom, and they are driven to sports activities that mandate entire days to practice for a game that is, well, just a game…So, when I walked into this colorful room, it really made me smile.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that we all do our best, and we need rules, but we also need permission to be ourselves, at our own pace. The Art room is that place in school; a perfect oasis of mess, in a ridiculously formal environment.
It’s not just about creativity, it’s about having the freedom to discover what makes you tick, and not to be controlled all of the time. Children need to figure out who they are in-between the activities. Some crave organization, with straight, printed labels, and a place for everything, while others like to grow a mountain of stuff that crawls towards you when you open the door. Many want their favorite color from top to bottom, and others just want a place to play with toys or listen to music. (Strangely enough, they all seem to know where everything is).
I am a firm believer in…(click here to keep reading)
Wendy E. Wrzos http://www.thebluegiraffe.com
Photograph of a Girl on a Swing, by the talented designer, Kate Jackson