“Mommy, My Art is in the Trash!”

anna art trash 1

“Mommy, my art is in the trash!” said 4-year-old Noah with shock and dismay. This is how Board Supervisor, Janice Rutherford, opened her keynote speech to a large group of educators. She held up her son’s paper plate painting, and told us how distressed he was when he found it in the trash can at home. How could this have happened? Surely it must be a mistake because who would throw away original artwork?

I was completely amused by her poignant message as this Education Board Member went on to show us that she “walked the walk” and “talked the talk” of early childhood education. She knows from first-hand experience and her own sensitivity that the values we instill in our children are important and our actions need to match those values. (By the way, she confessed to me later that she kept so much of Noah’s artwork, she had run out of storage room, but that she learned a lot from this lesson and would be more discreet in the future.)

How can we teach our children that we DO value their artwork, both at home at school?  Here are a couple of handouts to start the school year out. They make great take-home flyers for parents, or feel free to post them on your school web site. (Click each flyer for a full resolution version)

anna toddler what is child art 1

anna toddler what is child art 2

anna why worry pdf

In my next post, I’ll be highlighting “Art in the Foyer” and show you inspiring examples of children’s art in school foyers and classrooms. There are many temporary displays of process art experiences that enhance your classroom walls, but permanent or semi-permanent displays also add to your school aesthetics and make a statement about how you value creativity.

anna art trash 2

In fact, without much cost at all you can turn your entire school into an Art Gallery full of children’s work. Here are a few creative ideas from Pierce College’s Child Development Center where Director Phyllis Schneider hosts a monthly forum and idea exchange for local Preschool Directors. This abstract feather painting hangs in their meeting room and was easy for children to create with feathers and Colorations® Metallic Activity paints on a large donated canvas.

anna art trash 3 anna art trash 4

Phyllis gave me a tour and introduced me to their art specialist, a lead teacher named Miyuki. Sometimes it only takes one art oriented teacher to make a big difference in your entire school.  Hopefully you have one of those, like Miyuki, and will encourage her to spread her mark throughout your school. Check out some of these inspiring abstract painting examples, which I will talk about more in future posts.

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I hope you have had a great start to the school year. My life has been crazy busy with the back-to-school season, but things are finally settling down, whew! I hope you are settling into your routine as well and finding balance in your life. Remember to take care of yourself, and find time to do what you enjoy. And stay creative to replenish yourself.  Remember that art is one of the only ways you can find yourself and lose yourself at the same time. LOL. Anna

Key Words:

PreK Art, Value of Art, Art in Child Develoment, Parent Handouts, Parent Education, Messy Art, Paint Stains on Clothing,

Materials Used:
Colorations® Metallic Activity Paints

Colorations® Paint
Feathers, assorted pack
Smart Art and More Smart Art Books

* Brought to you by Discount School  Supply®

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3 thoughts on ““Mommy, My Art is in the Trash!”

  1. Love, love, love the messages given here. It’s all so true! We must think a lot about what we say to children about their art. I try to use descriptive words about what they created. ‘I see you used a lot of dark colors in your painting’. I also like to ask children to tell me about their creation. I will definitely print out the hand outs and post them at The Messy Artist.

  2. HI Anna,
    You might also address someday here how parents can value and virtually save all of their child’s artwork by hanging it all on a wall and having the child stand in front of it, then clicking a photo. They can now keep all of the artwork that doesn’t fit into the “save forever” bin. Other ideas as well, but this is always one I tell parents about.

  3. From when I was little on up to Jr. High and high school thru college I would ask my mom what she thought about my art and always get the same answer.” I dont know anything about art but it looks good to me.” I would of been happier with I don’t like it and a reason why. I always ask my son about his art and he loves telling me about it too. He has a wild imagination and he loves to show it thru his art and stories.

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