Inside every child there is an artist. As surely as there are different types of learners, there are different styles of artists, and each has a unique way of expressing his or her creativity. The child who is adept at drawing may not be able to solve the problems that arise in 3-D construction. One who loves to mix colors and paint may not feel capable drawing. For this reason, it is important to structure a lower school art program to include all different media, both two and three dimensional; to work large as well as small; to work in groups as well as individually; to emphasize involvement in and enjoyment of the process of working. The goal of the Wooster Lower School art program is for each child to be comfortable with art materials, to develop a non-critical, playful approach to his/her own work, to be flexible and use mistakes, to have fun and experiment with the materials in a non-competitive but engaging and focused atmosphere.
The program teaches the elements of art through curriculum-related subject matter. History, social studies, math, and science are integrated into long-term projects. Museum trips, sketching trips, classroom research, and books enhance and deepen the content of the work. Children become familiar with artwork of different cultures and learn to use the visual vocabulary of those cultures by working with similar materials, designs, and forms. Mathematical concepts are an integral part of art, in the use and combination of geometric forms, the study of proportion, and the creation of patterns. Children naturally use the scientific method in color-mixing experiments; there is no better way to observe nature closely than by drawing it; and any three-dimensional construction involves an intimate relationship with the laws of physics.
Through these processes and with these materials children discover and explore the elements of art - line, color, texture, shape, volume, pattern, proportion, composition, and contrast. They learn to solve conceptual, visual, and structural problems. Long term projects layer many of these processes and explore many of these elements as well as incorporating research and material learned in the school curriculum. Because of this multimedia approach, each work is a complex series of accomplishments. Work completed one year builds the skills necessary for work done in following years.
Children learn to perceive the world around them, to transform malleable materials and ordinary objects into extraordinary things, and feel how ideas can generate more ideas. As they learn to appreciate their own uniqueness, they also learn to respect the work of others.
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