A Beautiful ‘Oops’

Does a spill ruin a drawing? Not when it can become the shape of a goofy animal. An accidental tear in the paper? No worries. It can turn into the mouth of a roaring alligator. 

These are just a few of the valuable lessons our Kindergarten students have been contemplating in art class this week. After listening to the book Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg, our Dragons learned that an “oops” can become an opportunity to make something new and impressive as they created beautiful art out of a paint splat, a torn paper, and a smudge.

More importantly, our art teachers have been reminding the students that the same lesson holds true in other endeavors as well. 

Research shows that mistakes have real value – they help us learn. When we pause to consider how and where we went wrong, it increases our ability to reflect on our thinking (metacognition). It also increases our confidence in our abilities to accomplish a difficult task. It’s called productive failure. 

Failure and mistakes can also force us to use our problem-solving skills and imaginations to find another way, just as our Kindergarten artists did. At WES, we seek to create a safe and nurturing environment so our Dragons can experiment, fail, and continue to find new ways to accomplish their goals.


Danny Vogelman
Head of School