The national curriculum states:
“Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.” Dfe 2013
This is the basis for all teaching of Art and design taught at St. Mark’s. Our focus is on skills progression. The progression of skills has been mapped out to make sure children build upon previous learning.
Here is an overview of what a series of art lessons might look like:
Inspiration and context
Children learn about and discuss work by artists and designers which link to their topic. This link might be to do with subject matter, style, medium, historical or geographical significance. We encourage children to be critical by comparing and contrasting artists or artworks.
Exploring and teaching discrete skills
Children are given time to explore new materials and discover for themselves what they can do. We teach the children explicitly how to use the medium in different ways.
Applying new skills
Directly after teaching skills, we set the children a short task which allows them to apply the new skills they have just acquired. This is a great opportunity for children to continue experimenting, to make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes. This also encourages ‘sketchbook culture’ where children are not afraid to try things out and shifts focus away from achieving perfection.
Now that children have both the inspiration and the discrete skills needed, they are ready to create their artwork.
Evaluating and celebrating
We provide an opportunity for children to reflect on their work and the work of others. This could be through discussion, a class gallery, or a written evaluation.
The impact of teaching children with skills in mind can be seen clearly in their outcomes. Children feel confident in using new materials because they have had the opportunity to experiment and learn for themselves. We share and celebrate our artwork throughout the school and we have just created a new whole school mural!