Written and images on this blog are Judie Ryan's sole property unless otherwise indicated.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


For this specific kindergarten project, we asked our daughter what she wanted to make. She said, "A puppet theater with Sacajawea, the only woman on the Lewis and Clark expedition, and three Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and William Henry Harrison. We, a teacher and a college professor, were stunned. We couldn't even remember which President William Henry Harrison was. We had to look it up. He was the 9th President of the United States and his grandson, Benjamin Harrison was  the 23rd President. With our daughter, we looked at things she might use for the project--paper towel and toilet paper rolls, balls, cardboard boxes of different sizes, aluminum foil, Styrofoam spheres, poster board, pencils, paper plates, lots of tempera paint and colored markers etc. After choosing her materials, we asked her how we could help. She wanted a rectangle cut in the box to create a opening for a puppet stage (Let's face it, we didn't want a 5-year-old using an Exacto knife). The small rectangle that was left over, she wanted to use as a curtain. With little supervision, she painted four toilet paper rolls in what she thought were appropriate colors, i.e. black for President Lincoln, Blue for George Washington etc.. She painted faces as well as a kindergartner can on four Styrofoam heads. We needed to cut out the hats, but she painted them. The next day she glued all the pieces together, poked holes in the small rectangle and the top of the box and strung yarn through it, so that she could move the curtain up and down. We were really impressed. If I can find a picture of it, I'll post it. The other creations looked pretty much like a craft box cover. Perfect. I think it's wrong to make 5-year-olds feel they need to be perfect and that somehow a project they made themselves fell short of that. The problem is left with the teacher. She can 1. Send a note home to the parents and ask them to let the child do the work and make them mad. 2. Try to talk to the parents about it. 3. Give all the kids an A. You get the idea! It is true that letting a young child explore, takes more time. But it's worth it. .
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