Our Writer, David finds it regrettable that people tend to leave arts and crafts behind when they leave school. You only need to look at a picture a child has painted in the classroom, full of bold, bright shapes and colours, to witness how confidently pupils express themselves; yet many adults never pick up a brush again after leaving school, unless they’re decorating the back bedroom!
It’s as though we’ve left these things behind – “grown out of” behaving with such carefree creativity. Hardly surprising, then, that many newcomers take to craft with such relish. To some extent, we’re simply reliving our happy past in class!
Nowadays, serious studies are undertaken to research how teachers can use handicraft projects to benefit other subjects – even languages, maths and science, as well as arts and crafts.
Findings have been helping to confirm what many educators had suspected for years; that learning improves when lessons involve the hands! Making things more tangible – by presenting learning in the form of a craft project – means that children also become more curious, wishing to find out more about the basic subject matter. Crafts form a break from more serious (dare we say “boring”?) academic activities. Pupils who become absorbed are more likely to be better-behaved when craft work is included; and social skills improve when children are encouraged to work together.
Some educationalists are convinced that crafting makes lessons and learning better, while others even claim that this “hands-on” activity is vital to the learning process. Some believe that crafting suits different students, with different learning styles (at one end of the learning spectrum, craft can be well-suited to teaching those with learning difficulties, since satisfying results can be achieved, sometimes from projects with straightforward steps).
Craft can helps teachers gain a better understanding of the way individual children think.
What, and what with?
Crafts in the classroom can use a combination of accessories; not only basics like substantial coloured paper and card, safe scissors and adhesive, paints with strong colours and other “staples” associated with schooling, but also the types of materials pupils might find readily at home.
Paper or plastic cups, cartons and containers, plastic bags, cord and string can all feature in constructive classroom activity; while on nature walks, collecting dried leaves, pine cones, wild flowers for pressing and still more, not only helps towards the scientific learning process but also contributes towards scrapbooking, box-making and other crafts.
Some teachers like to “theme” crafts around a particular day or event. Americans are especially strong in this area, celebrating not only holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also Independence Day, Halloween, Presidential campaigns, Mardi Gras, perhaps, and even celebrations like Columbus Day and Washington’s birthday which, to us, can seem obscure.
More generally, Valentine’s, Easter, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days and even St Patrick’s Day and Chinese New Year lend themselves to craft celebration and partying (for all crafters, not simply the young). In Britain, we have May Day, Bonfire Night, red, white and blue-adorned Royal occasions and other events with schoolroom appeal.
While not all of us review our schooldays through the rose-tinted specs that some lyricists would have us believe, it’s possible that, when we craft, a small part of us does this for the child we once were.
We at Create and Craft are delighted that, in craft, the brash, colourful ideas and activities we saw in class have, in some way, “left school” along with us. Like our schooldays, crafting helps contribute towards…
The Happiest Days of our Lives.