Students in Lindsay Valentine’s art classes at Nelson Elementary School in Dover are learning to be creative problem solvers, how to respect their neighbors and the earth by working on collaborative art pieces made from items that are discarded, such as plastic bottle caps, paper rolls, bubble wrap and more. You can help the students with their projects by donating some of these items.

Students in Lindsay Valentine’s art classes at Nelson Elementary School in Dover are working on collaborative art projects using recycled materials, and so Valentine and her students are asking the community to donate items such as plastic bottle caps, plastic containers and lids, plastic water bottles, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, bubble wrap, wood pieces, frames and exterior paints.

Students and teachers have been challenged this past year, but teachers like Valentine keep classes going and strive to do the best they can with students. One way to do this is to learn to work together on collaborative art projects.

Valentine said, “There are many reasons that we chose to do collaborative projects using recycled materials. First and foremost, it is incredibly important that our kids know how to work together to achieve a common goal. This is a skill that will carry them throughout their lives. Second, our school is in need of artwork. Third, recycled goods are something that we can collect. It is keeping harmful plastics out of our oceans.”

Valentine explained, ”We explored the ‘trash islands’ found in our oceans and how long it takes for plastic to break down. Students were shocked by the fact that scientific predictions say there will be more plastic pieces in our oceans than fish by the time they are the age of their parents. I want to teach our students that you can find beauty in ordinary objects and that art is all around you. It is my goal that kids learn the skills to work together to create things they can be proud to see at their school.”

The students are currently working on a bottle cap mosaic, water bottle sculptures and a collaborative piece with masks to commemorate this year. All will be displayed within the walls of Nelson Elementary.

Valentine said, “We hope the community knows how important art programs are and the skills it builds. In this ever-changing world, jobs their children will pursue have not even been created yet. It is important to have the fundamental skills of using creative and innovative thoughts, being able to use the materials you are afforded, making a difference in your environment and community, collaborating and problem-solving.”

Nelson Elementary is located at 5413 Durant Rd. in Dover. Items can be dropped off between 7 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, email Valentine at or call 651-2120.

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