Stick figures are to be treasured. Paint smears to be admired. An ice-sculpture with colored salts to be fun and playful.
The curricula for arts and crafts is designed to enable the children’s practice using a variety of mediums (e.g. crayons, paint, clay, glue, etc.) and explore how those mediums are creatively applied in the world for personal expression, culture, and innovation. It was Steve Jobs’ exploration of calligraphy practice that later influenced the emphasis he put on design and user experience for Apple products that sets them apart to this day.
“Throughout the campus (Reed College) every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed…I learned [through their calligraphy instruction program] about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture.” Steve Jobs (former CEO of Apple), excerpt from Stanford’s 2005 graduation speech.
Creative arts, like the intellectual exploration of the sciences, is one of the defining human characteristics that sets us apart from all other creatures. Self-expression, the reflection of our human self-consciousness, is a daily influence in our personal lives and society. We learn art standards, but personal creativity is also highly encouraged. For example, if we are painting a sunflower and using real sunflower seeds for decoration, while the children will see a model of a sunflower painting and be given the seeds and paint to produce their work, I let them develop the painting as they wish…this may mean the sunflower has just a few purple petals, a single seed, and a bluish-green stalk; we would discuss the feelings the painting evokes and how it felt to create it.
A unique aspect of our program is that arts and/or crafts are done every day! Here is an example of how the Arts and Crafts period is connected with the curriculum:
February (Time and Travel), Week Three (Modes of Transportation), Thursday (Boats): for this day, we are designing a boat (2D or 3D) with scrap materials. Parents’ collaborate by selecting a few scrap materials from home for their child’s project; this could be a napkin, some Q-tips, an empty milk carton, or other such item. Their child will then use these materials as the primary building parts for their boat, being able to supplement with our scrap materials here as well.
Other examples of art throughout the year:
For Dr. Seuss Day / Reading Across America: handprint paint art from the Dr. Seuss story, Horton Hears a Who. (Paint, ink, and fuzz ball)
Learning how to color within the lines. (Pencil and oil pastels)
Learning how to draw full bodies and illustrate a story scene. (Pencil, marker, and crayon)
Learning about seasons (handprint trees during winter and spring shown here). (Paint, paper, and mixed materials)
Learning how to draw faces (portrait of dad). (Crayon and pencil)
In addition to daily arts and crafts, special learning day projects, and art available for free time and Montessori/Waldorf, we also have an Art Exploration program that has monthly learning themes of style and mediums that culminate in an original “masterpiece”. Teaching objectives are based on developmentally-appropriate and individual standards, yet the goal is to provide a joyful experience and exposure to the practice and vocabulary of multiple forms of art.
|2019||Academic Theme||Art Form/Medium||Masterpiece Project|
Jobs and Money
|Collage||Cut and paste “vision board”|
Time and Travel
|Photography||Styles (B&W, angles, etc.)|
|Textiles||Fabric textile/weaving designs|
|Decoupage||Faberge-style Easter Egg|
Performing & Fine Arts
|Felt & Velcro||Moveable Felt Family|
|Free-style with multiple mediums||Made-up magical creature|
|Portraits||Oil pastel self-portraits|
Plants & Animals
|Nature stamping||Leaves & Flowers as stamps|
|Black Scratch Paper (abstract)||Spaceship window|