Lower School Art
The Art program in the Lower School consists of a variety of art projects designed to help develop fine motor skills as well as creative thinking skills.
Students in Grades 1 and 2 are scheduled for two 45-minute classes every six-day cycle, while students in Grades 3, 4, and 5 have one 90-minute class every six days. The goal of the program is to create an environment where art-making is fun, self-expression is encouraged, and the basic elements of art are taught in a non-judgmental way.
Field trips to the Worcester Art Museum, Fitchburg Art Museum, and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts support the curriculum. Art History is incorporated into each grade level to help the students develop an appreciation for the arts and the use of an art vocabulary.
In the spring of each year we hold a Lower School Art Show. All students are included in the show and parents, family, and friends are invited to come and support our young artists.
The Grade 1 Art program has been designed to help with the development of fine motor skills while giving students early exposure to a wide variety of art materials.
Social and emotional growth is also a very important part of working in the Art Room. Group activities, sharing supplies, and working in partnerships are all part of learning in this busy environment.
Color studies of warm and cool colors, large-scale painting, mural making and use of patterns and texture with printmaking and collage are all covered.
Interdisciplinary projects relating to their classroom studies of the Medieval Arts are explored by creating three-dimensional weavings and clay sculptures.
In Grade 2, children study the rich cultures of Japan and Egypt. A variety of art projects have been developed so that the students can share what they have learned in Central Subject and create artwork that is related to it. It is more than a “who made what when” approach. It is the study of people and other civilizations through art.
The students find it fascinating and enjoy creating clay pieces as well as colored pencil drawings with the symbols and designs of another world.
In the spring, creativity abounds as they work two and three dimensionally while creating a colorful rain forest. Watercolor paintings are made that reinforce what they have learned about color mixing and the many types of vegetation in this environment. Large-scale plants and animals made out of paper mache and found objects are also a favorite activity that requires research and ingenuity.
They will learn many new painting techniques by exploring color and texture in art, create colorful paper collages two-dimensionally, and design their own three-dimensional creative containers in clay.
The focus is taking an idea, using materials they are now familiar with, and stretching their imaginations to make works of art that are truly their own.
Integrated projects with their Central Subject and the study of Ghana are worked on in the spring. African folk tales are illustrated and Adinkra cloth is hand printed with their own unique patterns. Grade Three is truly a year for the students to begin to develop their own artistic style.
Fine motor skills are better developed while working on pieces designed to fit a certain form. Patience, knowledge of materials, and use of carving and sculpting tools are being taught.
Later in the year, the students travel to another continent while integrating a curriculum with French class. They study the French Impressionists, what it was like to develop a new art movement, and learn many expressive ways to paint with acrylics. Their art vocabulary and their understanding of aesthetics are further developed. The art making process actively engages them and they begin to question about why and how these paintings were made. “What makes good Art?” begins one discussion and they start to make connections to previous lessons and analyze what they have learned. It is a wonderful time to explore the creative process. Their fine motor skills are better developed, and they are open and willing to trying many creative approaches.
Opportunities follow that will allow the students to be creative while working on clay projects, printmaking, and drawing assignments. Learning about perspective, making objects look three-dimensional and adding texture to their work is taught through of use of many art materials.