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Primary insights: Art
Well hello there and welcome to update #032!
Sophie Merrill shared some terrific insights when John Tomsett and I talked with her about how she develops the art curriculum in her school:
‘Taught well, primary art is rich and intellectually stimulating. But it needs to be given time, and to be valued and celebrated. Too often it's misinterpreted as 'play' or reduced to replicating sunflowers (no offence, Van Gogh!) This devalues the subject and does a disservice to pupils.’
‘I can’t draw!’ Without a safe space to express their ideas, it’s easy for children to become disheartened with art. In Primary Huh, Sophie explains how we can help pupils to be brave and understand that mistakes and experimenting are part of the artistic process.
‘Teachers need to find the balance between pupils feeling safe and with them being appropriately challenged. Too often expression turns out to be replication: ‘We’re all going to draw this piece, in this way, using this media.' They all end up producing exactly the same picture. It becomes art by numbers.
‘Teachers should model the messy process of creating art–the trial and error, getting it wrong before you get it right. They can do this by having a sketchbook and joining in with lessons, modelling different skills and techniques, but within that, it’s important to model getting it wrong. We're not looking for perfection.
‘Sketchbooks are so important. They give the children something they’re proud of and you can track their progress. It’s where they try out ideas, experiment, practise formal methods and apply their knowledge.
‘Sketchbooks shows the pupils' thinking process. We should see drawing, painting, collage, mixed media, coiling string, things stuck in, notes, splashes all over the place. Maybe some pages are ripped because they’ve taken a bashing. It's their space to experiment with.
Give art the time it needs and deserves. Explore inspiring artists. Experiment. Build confidence with expression and creativity. Make mistakes & try again. Fill those sketchbooks & celebrate the art. Fill your staircases with artwork & nurture the awe & wonder of art in your pupils.
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Until next time
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