Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, New York recently cancelled the art show of it’s kindergarteners because they think art is useless. Below is the letter that they sent out to parents and guardians regarding the matter:
“Dear Kindergarten parents and guardians:
We hope this letter serves to help you better understand how the demands of the 21st century are changing schools and, more specifically, to clarify misconceptions about the Kindergarten show. It is most important to keep in mind that this issue is not unique to Elwood. Although the movement toward more rigorous learning standards has been in the national news for more than a decade, the changing face of education is beginning to feel unsettling for some people. What and how we teach is changing to meet the demands of a changing world.
The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers, and problem solvers. Please do not fault us for making professional decisions that we know will never be able to please everyone. But know that we are making these decisions with the interests of all children in mind.”
These administrators are making a horrible mistake. Just what do these people think make the “strongest readers, writers, coworkers, and problem solvers’? It’s certainly not following the rules or being like everyone else–it’s creativity–the very thing they are trying to squander.
Creative passion and energy has been the driving force behind most every advancement in human history, not to mention being a fundamental building block in personal expression, happiness, and empathy. To tell these children at such a young and impressionable age that art means nothing is downright wrong.
If I could tell these kids anything, it would be to make things, be happy, and to never ever give up on being creative.