by Jeanne Sager
When I was a kid -- way back in the stone ages when we walked 20 miles uphill to get to school -- you did a whole lot of coloring in school. In fact, come to think of it, that may have been all we did for one straight year. Picked our noses, took naps, and colored. You too? Yup, seems like we all did, but in news that will make you feel like grabbing a can of Metamucil, it seems those days are over for kids.
First cursive got kicked out, now it's the crayons? Yes, indeedy do, schools are dropping coloring from the curriculum!
At least, one school is. The Southside Primary School in Cleveland, Texas, announced it would be yanking the crayons and the coloring sheets in response to low performing test scores at the third- and fourth-grade level. The district announced it needs to focus more on "academics" for younger kids to prep them for the all-important tests in the higher grades.
Ah yes, the old "academics" line.
Because what parent is going to argue with an increased focus on academics?
Well, this one.
Don't get me wrong! I'm a whole-hearted supporter of academics. Why else would I send my kid to school? Anything that can be done to improve the focus on academics should be considered by school districts, and successes at one school should be studied by others for possible adoption.
But the last time I checked, coloring is a piece of the academic puzzle, and it's one we can't afford to lose. This is NOT a trend that should spread.
See, coloring isn't just coloring. That's the way we sell little kids -- as fun time to be artsy -- but in truth coloring is really about training youngsters' little muscles and their brains. It's helping them develop their fine motor skills. It's a lesson in discipline and concentration and a means to introduce logic, not to mention a way to cement a child's grasp on color recognition.
As much as we love to poke fun at the old ways of doing things way back when we were kids, we need to remember that not everything old is outdated. Some methods that had merit then still apply today -- among them getting youngsters started with some crayons and a blank sheet of paper.
Those tests will be long forgotten by the time those kids grow up, but the abilities they gain from coloring the outline of a pumpkin or Abraham Lincoln's hat will stay with them forever.
What subjects/activities do you think are essential to learning that public schools are moving away from?
Do you think coloring is an essential part of learning?
Yes coloring is important.
Recess, naptime (for younger grades), writing in cursive, art, music, playing with language, playing period. There are so many things that the PSs are moving away from that are absolutely essential to learning and also the down time to allow their brains to rest long enough to o back to learning.
Coloring and the arts are on our list. Cursive handwriting is too; we may go back to Washington D.C. sometime and I want both to be able to read historical documents. We're learning Latin because it's wonderful for grammar, spelling, and definitions; I don't know any schools around here that offer it now.
Writing fiction is favorite subject that we include here as well. I know many schools are solely focusing on non-fiction (we do that too) but there's nothing like using one's imagination to let the words just flow.
Absolutely! Colouring is NEEDED. It is essential ito many developing skills.
There is a school that has decided to get rid of dodgeball and football at recess as there are too many injuries. Too hazardous to the kids'health.
There are too many subjects and activities that are/have been taken away! And not always because it is old.
October 28, 2013 at 10:49 PM
I think coloring is a HUGE part of learning in the early years. From holding a crayon correctly to using training your muscles to be able to write for longer periods of time, etc. I think cursive is really important too.
I think it's really sad this is what they decide to do away with...get rid of the flash cards and over testing!
October 28, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Why do these schools not try to figure out the underlying causes? How about home life? Where are the parents? How much are they reading vs. watching TV, do they play games as a family? What are they exposed to in terms of violence etc. UGH! I just don't get it.
by patnicOctober 29, 2013 at 7:15 AM
Hi, my kids aren't home schooled yet, but I see it in my future. That's why I'm here, hope you don't mind my reply.
My two boys do not like coloring, they aren't into drawing, creating with crayons or coloring. So I think it depends on the child. I'd rather have my kids build with legos, create with blocks, play games using little pieces rather than coloring with crayons.
Additionally, I googled that school mentioned above. I think the intent was to stop the teachers from using crayons as an easy way out. I get so much crayon crap from school, it is a waste. They want the teachers to use other manipulative to get the point across, not just "color the worksheet". I get it.
cursive. I"m sold on teachign cursive. I'm really annoyed that public school didn't even teach my kids how to hold a pencil and form letters. And, I read a really intersting article on the connection between outdoor play (now seriously lacking in our culture) where little kids develop gross motor skills, leading to the proper development of fine motor skills (again, sorely lacking today) in the form of coloring, using scissors, drawing, and then the development of attention. (sorry I lost the link when I tried to organize bookmarks and a bunch got accidentally deleted)
So, I'm making my kids learn cursive.
Also, reading REAL books, with a cover, a begining, a middle and an end, some with pictures even! None of this only reading a short passage and answering a few fill-in-the-bubble comprehension questions about it.