“Creativity is as important as literacy.”
-Sir Ken Robinson
My son started Kindergarten last fall which means he started getting homework… a lot of homework. It also means I’ve seen substantially fewer art projects coming home in his backpack. I realize now more than ever that it’s my job as his parent to make sure that he is exposed to all the beautiful creative, cultural, and physical experiences that the world has to offer.
When I was a kid it was really important to me that other people knew I was smart. Taking AP Calculus seemed to be the way to get filed into that category despite the fact that it made little sense to me and I prayed it would have no part in my future.
Art, on the other hand, came naturally to me and I excelled at it, but it never made me feel smart. Art simply wasn’t valued in school the same way academics were.
This is a heartbreaking realization. I feel sad for my self-conscious teenage self and I don’t want that for my kids, or yours.
Luckily I had a few teachers early on who went out of their way to put me on an “alternative” path and parents who were supportive. I went to art school, majored in metalwork, worked with artists, and my life has been filled with creativity ever since (and thankfully very little calculus).
Art eduction may be underrepresented in most schools, but as parents, we can make sure that our children understand that it is not to be undervalued. After all, with creativity comes problem-solving, critical thinking, and many other skills that our kids will need to thrive in any career.
Maker Monkey Workshop is my chance to do what my teachers did for me… to go out of my way to create an experience that fuels creative thinking in hopes that it will enhance whatever path your child is on. If the art is not filling up their backpacks, there’s still a way for it to fill our homes.