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Popsicle Sticks – Not again…

I noticed an interesting phenomenon with kindergarten arts and crafts. All teachers do the same things with their charges. I mean, why else would two Sukkah decorations which were made by two different children (albeit first cousins of each other) living on opposite sides of the U.S., look identical? Well, almost identical!

When our New York grandson showed us his paper designed sukkah (ritual hut) with popsicle sticks on the construction paper, and green strips for the palm branches, I was impressed!

Until my L.A. grandson showed me his project. Same! It was bizarre.  No difference. Same popsicle sticks, same green strips, same white paper background. Same lettering in the middle describing the project. Huh?  If not for their names scrawled on the lower left side of each project, I wouldn’t have known whose was whose.

Is there some kind of standardized project-making skill that the kids have to master before moving on to the next level? I know it’s not all about originality and I don’t want to be critical, but for Heavens’ Sakes, can’t someone come up with something new, individual, and original?

Any Early Childhood educator reading this blog, please consider that the next time you have the kids make a project the following:

Why doesn’t a teacher give the kids a blank piece of paper, and have them draw a Sukkah, or a house or whatever! Why does everything need to be so structured? Okay, okay, the popsicle sticks is a tactile activity. Teaches them fine motor coordination, lining things up. I get it. I am trained in child development. Yes. Fine.

But can’t they use pipe cleaners or yarn? or something different? Yeah yeah, popsicle sticks are wooden and resemble the building of the Sukkah. So?

What I’m getting at is I’d like to see some variety in the materials used for arts and crafts projects in pre-school. I challenge the early childhood educators to consider this Bubby’s opinion – just this once.

I’d like to see the children’s individuality reflected in their projects. Thanks for considering!

“ARK”….. (Old-Age Redefined)

When I was growing up,  both my grandmothers lived nearby.  They were busy, active  and had set routines in their lives.  However, to me, they were —well, old.

In fact, at that time, I considered the elderly to be in one broad age bracket – 45 and up. Anyone above the age of 45 was “old” to me. Anyone above the age of 60, was “very old,” and anyone above the age of 70 was “ancient.” I don’t know when this self-created age chart  changed, but these days I don’t think any age is really old. I truly believe age is a state of mind, as cliche as that sounds. If someone is active at the age of 95 (and I know many who are extremely vital and active at that age), then to me they are not old…at least in the broad brushed sense that I perceived back in those childhood years of mine. Continue reading

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