ST. ALBANS CITY — With snow on the ground and the holidays just around the corner, it’s crafting time in St. Albans City School.
The kindergarten class spent a good portion of Tuesday morning creating gingerbread men and women, snowmen, polar bears, magic snowflakes and homemade Play-Doh.
Before the gluing, painting and decorating got underway, music teacher Cathy Cameron led the students in rounds of “Chubby Little Snowman” and “Jingle Bells” as they finished their breakfast in the cafeteria. Jingle Bells was sung in several renditions, including an accompaniment with sign language.
“That’s crazy!” one student exclaimed after Cameron challenged the students to just use sign language without singing, too.
Following the singing session, the students rotated through each of the grade’s five classrooms to complete the five crafts, which they will take home Friday before school vacation begins.
“We do this every year,” said Hailee Adams, a kindergarten teacher. “We definitely like to have the winter holiday theme for them to take something home for their parents.”
In addition to kids having some gifts for their parents, Adams said the activities are beneficial for students to practice fine motor skills and following directions – such as not eating the real gingerbread cookie every student had to decorate.
“The crafts deliver fine motor skills, creativity, different sensory experiences,” said Adams. For students who may have different needs or an alternative learning style, crafts are adapted so they can be independently.
Adams added, “They really like rotating to have the experience in the different classrooms.”
As kindergarten student Rhya glued raisins on her gingerbread person in one classroom, she exclaimed, “It’s sticky!”
Her peer, Skyla, showed off her raisin decorations. “These are his checks,” she said.
In another classroom, student Kaydince proudly showed off her completed craft, made of white cotton puffs, paper and plastic jewels. “Look at my snowman!” she said.
In Joy Walsh’s classroom, students kneaded flour, tartar sauce and salt together to make Play-Doh. They incorporated glitter and food coloring of their choice as well.
“They got to pick,” said Walsh.
As Adams’ classroom of students finished their magic snowflake paintings – made with white crayons and painted over with blue and purple watercolors – one student asked, “Do you like mine?”
Adams replied, “I like all of they – they’re so pretty.”
In the classroom of Tony Lewis, students used white handprints they created earlier to draw and decorate as polar bears, complete with trees and snowflakes in the background. One student made a zig-zaggy outline around his handprint, and Lewis commended him on his particularly fuzzy-looking bear.
According to Adams, crafting with the students has a lot of hidden benefits, like confidence boosting and appreciation for individual creation.
“I think that craft day is an opportunity for kids to [see] that each craft comes out different and unique,” Adams said.