When I do ceramics with students I warn them before we start that clay is
fragile and their piece "may" break. Then I tell them a few "tricks" to keep
them from breaking - handling them carefully, creating thick pieces instead
of paper thin ones. Younger children do well with just manipulating the
clay - bowls and simple shapes. I do one clay project a year with my 3-6
students (K-2 is a logistical nightmare to do clay). I then let them know
that we do "lots" of ceramics in middle school if they enjoy that process.
<snip>What ages does everyone do ceramics with? I'm doing them with all
classes this semester, and I've had a teacher/friend tell me I need to only
do them with one older class, because the younger kids don't have the skills
and the emotional stability to handle it if pieces break. Well, I think they
can all learn skills, and besides, they love clay! But . . . I haven't fired
pieces and dealt with talking to kids about pieces breaking or exploding. I
do see it as a process art, but I'm interested in knowing how other teachers
deal with the emotional subject of broken (or even missing?) pieces. Also,
what are the best ways to prevent that from happening?