Which is it?
Pure art lets you do whatever you want. In not-so-pure art you might be told what media to use (clay, canvas and paint, a pile of misc stuff and some glue) but you can do whatever you want with these items. If you are told what the finished item must resemble, then you are moving even closer toward that blurry line that separates art from craft. Hey, everyone- lets make flowers out of colored construction paper! (but how the flowers look are up to each person's imagination).
If you are told the steps to follow and what your project must look like (and everyone else's will look just like yours) than it's definitely a craft. Reimagine the flower project where you are told how many stems and what their sizes are, to follow a pattern for the leaves and petals and what colors to use for the petals - now it's 100% craft which leaves absolutely no room for imagination or creativity.
To cover all bases, most classes or teachers call their program "Arts and Crafts." If you are okay with either then sign up. If you are definitely looking for a more pure art or pure craft, then ask questions before signing on with the program!
If a child has difficulty with following directions and steps, then put them in a pure art program where they can do no wrong. Success is guarenteed! Self-esteem shall soar! AND NEVER EVER ask "what is it?" Just gush on about how cool the end result is, compliment the colors chosen, the shapes that evolved. This is best for the younger kids as well as anyone who has difficulty making something look the way it's "supposed" to look.
Alot of us have it drilled into our heads that our art has to "look" like something. That's why we have problems with abstract art. And many of us have it in our heads that the item has to look photo realistic. Freud would allow you to blame this on your parents, grandparents and society as a whole. I can blame my brainwashing on my dad. I'm all grown up now but he still looks over my shoulder (figuratively).
Just remember that before cameras, portrait painting ruled the earth. Kings and Queeens wanted to be remembered. Realism was demanded. It took society quite awhile to accept landscapes and still lifes, let alone the craziness of abstract art. It's gonna take some time for some of us to snap out of that mindset.