This week, Cooper's class and the other six kindergarten classes are studying Australia. Their biggest project of the year is due Wednesday -- a diorama representing the Great Barrier Reef.
Cooper has researched the reef, drawn pictures of creatures for practice and created all kinds of sea life using construction paper, pipe cleaners, clay, little pieces of foam, glitter glue, etc. His work is detailed and appropriately messy. He's only 5, after all. The resulting diorama is great and clearly his work. (Though Steve did craft clever devices to suspend a jellyfish and stingray from the top of the shoebox.)
This afternoon I walked through the kindergarten pod and saw on display some dioramas already turned in. Wow! You should see these professional representations of the sea floor. Perhaps some of his peers are perfectionists with a flair for design? Glossy stickers are expertly placed in a seemingly random but clearly deliberate fashion. Fish and coral are crafted as if by artisans. One even includes a mini aquarium!
How much are these little folks learning by watching their parents -- well meaning, I'm sure -- do the work? I admit, it's taking some self-control for me not to scrape off some stray paint from a marble on Cooper's reef floor or add a few more flecks of silver glitter to the "water." If I had created the diorama, I would have made everything to scale. But, again, he's 5. Isn't it good enough that they're even trying to re-create the Great Barrier Reef? Isn't their own work good enough?