While many talk about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on students, they might not think of learning to hold a pencil or cutting with scissors. Many kids missed out on preschool this past year and a half. That means the burden of teaching basic skills could easily fall on kindergarten art teachers.
So one Yorkville art teacher brought a camera crew to Grande Reserve Elementary to help fix that very problem.
Teacher Lindsey Moss is filming a series of seven Youtube videos to help prepare other art teachers for the challenges they might face this incoming school year. Alongside Iowa-based media firm Pixel Lab, Moss and four Yorkville elementary students spent a day at Grande Reserve filming the videos, which will be posted online in August.
“It’s not in the normal art teacher bag of tricks to teach these things because most kids know them already,” Moss said.
“We don’t have pre-K knowledge, so some of these skills that kids have we normally take for granted. It’s going to come from those preschool teachers, like holding a pencil correctly, cutting with scissors, how to use a bottle of glue. These things they aren’t going to know coming in in the fall,” she said.
The videos include tutorials on teaching kids how to write their name, pencil grasp, gluing and using scissors. Something as simple as holding a pencil, Moss pointed out, can affect kids well into their futures.
“A lot of kids don’t have a developed pincher grasp because they weren’t practicing writing their name in preschool because they were online,” Moss said. “It doesn’t mean they can’t write or draw. But over time that weird mechanic of your hand makes them reluctant to write or reluctant to draw because it’s greater fatigue. It’s not as ergonomic and it hurts over time.”
Having worked on professional development for art teachers before, Moss stressed it can be hard to find, especially given that some school districts only have a few of them on staff. Furthermore, she hopes that a lack of basic skills among some kids isn’t thought of as learning loss.
“We’re talking about meeting the moment, having strategies so they can be successful and get up to speed really quickly,” she said. “Early childhood people - they look at that stuff, but a lot of kids weren’t in early childhood. So now if we want to help them this is something we have to be thinking about this fall.”