“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso
Give a Lower School student a paint brush, a crayon or even Play-Doh and watch as they create their own art with passion, gusto and a little messiness. Lower School art teacher Caroline Hagan enjoys helping these uninhibited little artists make their mark. Recently, she organized the annual Lower School art show highlighting works from students in PreK-3 through fifth grade. The subject matter was appropriately Lower School themed, with brightly colored drawings featuring everything from a cactus and a happy cat to the pigeon from the Mo Willems’ pigeon series.
Beginning in PreK-3, students make the “field trip” to Hagan’s classroom multiple times a week for art instruction. Hagan says she focuses on the experience of making art and not the end result. She uses a process-based approach to guide students in the elements and principles of art, including line, color, shape, value, form and texture. “A lot of people don’t have an art vocabulary,” says Hagan. “I want students to be able to discuss art at art museums and dinner parties in the future.” Hagan’s students also have the opportunity to experience many different materials and how they are used. While in kindergarten, students practice drawing shapes and putting them together to form larger images. By fifth grade, they are learning the steps in the printmaking process.
Hagan also finds meaningful ways in which to incorporate student art within the Lower School experience. For example, she worked with third graders to create an Episcopal wish tree for the community read earlier this year. Her fifth grade students made pieces that were sold at the annual global market and even PreK-3 and PreK-4 made pottery bunnies for their families this Easter.
With advancements in technology creating new careers, including animators and video game designers, creativity is an asset. Hagan says parents can help foster their budding Picasso’s natural artistic instincts by allowing the child to create their own artwork without input or expectations. In the end, the child will have a great time creating and the family will end up with an original piece to display in the home.
Do you have tips to encourage young artists? Share them in the comments section below.