2005-05-26 / Direct Answers

Answers From the Teacher

My daughter isn’t interested in drawing or coloring at all. I try to encourage her, but she’s more interested in playing with dolls than doing anything that’s artistic. I’m afraid that when she enters kindergarten next year, she won’t even know how to use a pencil.

Continue to offer her artistic op-portunities; present them in a nonchalant way. It’s true, the more time she’s spent with crayons or markers may make it easier to handle a pencil, but she will be given plenty of opportunities with crayons and markers once she gets to kindergarten. It’s not as if she’ll be handed a pencil on the first day and be expected to have perfect penmanship.

Keep markers or paints and pencils around, so she doesn’t have to search too far when she’s in the mood to color or draw. Purchase coloring books and sit down and start coloring in them yourself. She may come and join you. Coloring together can be a good time to relax and converse with your daughter, so she may come to look forward to those times. Remember that children take to things in phases, so if she’s in the doll phase now, don’t worry that it will harm her education. Creative play will (sadly) be replaced in time with all sorts of much more rigid daily requirements. Keep the art supplies around your house no matter what phase she’s in.

I’m concerned about the knowledge that my children might lose over the summer months. What are some simple ways to prevent these losses from happening? I have two children, both still in elementary school. I work during the day so the kids will be at a local day camp and with babysitters part of the time.

Find out if the day camp has any tutoring or education time during the day. If possible, see if you can get your kids into one of the educational sessions for one part of the day. If the day camp is more like a sports camp, it may not be offered, but you can teach your children to carry a book with them wherever they go. If they have a quiet period, perhaps they can use the time to read

Babysitters are being paid to watch your children, so request that the babysitter read aloud to your children, or help them with other educational projects. You can find ideas through the summer in this column, or you can search the Internet for additional ideas.

Some schools offer free summer enrichment materials or arrange for materials that are available for purchase. Inquire about them now because sometimes it’s necessary to place orders ahead of time.

Finally, I suggest families find a time each day to have either a read aloud together or a silent separate reading time. Many students already do this during their school day; it’s called DEAR, as in Drop Everything and Read, so this reading will seem to be a natural extension of a school day.

Send questions to: Answers from the Teacher, P.O. Box 54, South Egremont, MA 01258. Questions may also be e-mailed to answersfromtheteacher@adelphia.net.

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