Ricki’s school teaches their students to sew, and their first project was a simple skirt. Earlier in the year Ricki had brought home a piece of scrap cloth with razor-straight rows of machine stitching on it, and she told me that she had sewn the rows herself. I was impressed. I was expecting, however, that the eventual product would not be so nice. But perhaps rather sloppy work (especially since “sewing” is the only class Ricki complains about not liking).
Well, this week the skirt finally arrived home, and it was beautiful. I realized that even if she received extensive help in making the garment, the goals of work on coordination, fine motor movement, working on a task to completion, and pride in her work were all still completed. I am sure that as she gains experience in sewing, the hands-on help will be less, and she will slowly gain a certain level of proficiency.
Also recently Ricki brought home a craft article (see yesterday’s post HERE), and I was unable to know exactly how much help had been given (although I suspect that it was only guidance, and not hands-on work). This school does not go in for “babysitting” type of projects.
The problem is not limited to special-education students. One also gets children coming home from kindergarten with art projects that leaves the parent wondering “How much of this did my child actually do?” Parents claim that they want the artwork coming home to be the product of their child’s hands, yet the teacher who can send home nice projects is obviously a step ahead publicity–wise than the one who send home only pages of scribbling. The trick is to find projects that the child can do which still look reasonably nice. (And are within one’s budget....) But a quick trip to your local crafts store will show you that today this is not so hard. Yesterday I was in a local craft shop, and the number of easy yet nice-looking projects were plentiful. I bought two stencils of Chanukah-related designs and for my grandchildren, precut wooden dreidels (tops) ready to be painted. I passed on the ready-to-be-painted wooden menorahs (candlesticks), which being of wood I hope are meant only for decoration and not for use. The store also carried pre-cut sponges to stamp-paint menorahs, candles, and dreidels. In addition I already have at home a cookie-cutter in a dreidel shape, in two sizes, one of which I set aside to use to cut play-dough with.
So was it “all by myself”? Still often a puzzle.....
The school that Rikki is in sounds like a blessing. It is teaching her life skills...things that Harvard grads lack these days!
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