Elementary School That Banned Coloring Is Hurting Kids More Than Helping Them

crayonsWhen 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to poke fun at the old ways of doing things way back when we were kids, we need to remember that not everything old is outdated.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.

Has your kids' school district proposed a ban on coloring? What would you do?


Image via Hobbies on a Budget/Flickr

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