Art has real power, and the potential to bring great happiness into the lives of others. As an Art project for the Parents’ Guild-organized Community Impact Day, I thought that creating art cards to share with the elderly would be a great idea, and a wonderful opportunity for the children to give back and do something for others in our community.
The Pines was an ideal choice, as I feel children have a special relationship with the elderly, and it would be a nice gesture to paint a picture on a card and write a short message to the residents. Not only would this be a meaningful way to share joy with our community, but it would also enable the children to use some of our knowledge and skills from Art Class to create something special.
Prior to creating the cards, we discussed the importance of helping people in our community and giving our time and effort for the benefit of others without expecting anything in return. All of the Lower Elementary students were quite keen to do this project and we chose to use the method of Pointillism as our style of painting.
The students spent a great deal of time and care making these cards and when I mentioned to one of the classroom teachers how impressed I was with the students’ hand writing, she said that it was so very neat because the children really wanted to do their very best work for the recipients.
The finished cards were simple but beautiful, and these little works of art certainly brought a lot of heart to the residents of The Pines.
We are off to a great start in Art, with Lower Elementary students helping to prepare and decorate the Friendship Bench.
Before the bench was even finished it was put to use by students of all levels. Perhaps because the students already are familiar with the Peace Table from Casa, they understand the concept of having a space to resolve conflict and nurture friendships.
In Upper Elementary we turned our attention to Still Life compositions to further develop our observation and drawing skills. It was interesting to see how challenging it is to really draw what you see and not what you think you see. We discussed light, shadow and the texture of objects (fruit in this case).
We also learnt a little about the famous artist and sculptor Alexander Calder and looked at his wire sculptures. We tried our hands at making our own wire sculptures and they were fantastic!
So much more to explore this term, so little time.
The Christmas Musical performed last December set the stage for the second term of Performing Arts at MBTS, and our Art classes and classrooms have been transformed into spaces where the children can unfold, pretend, experiment and have fun with each other. Warm-ups, improvisation games and pantomime are regular and integral components of every class, and the children’s excitement and enthusiasm emphasize how important these opportunities are for self-expression.
The benefits of studying Drama are wide and varied. Studying the Performing Arts engages with the creative side of the brain and gives balance to an education that is often engaged in an ocean of theoretical subjects, and allows an avenue to develop cognitive abilities that complement study in other disciplines.
Through Drama, students gain important life skills as they learn the value of critical feedback, positive and constructive. We always start Drama class by discussing Safe Space and how we need to feel that we can express ourselves without the fear of being judged. I mostly find this is a somewhat foreign subject to the children, who seem to rarely encounter or experience this at the school. Feeling self-conscious is also less of an issue in the years preceding adolescence, and as such, the elementary years are an ideal period for exploring Drama.
Creative expression is a great way to build self-confidence, and offers a forum in which children can explore a wide range of emotions ranging from anger to happiness. Drama builds confidence, giving students beneficial public speaking opportunities wherein they learn to approach situations in an array of different manners. It can often help introverted and reserved children, with some students learning to “find their voice” while studying drama. Through dramatic expression and role-playing, they may discover they are problem solvers or natural leaders.
Drama provides an essential outlet to all children, and can help define a child’s growing sense of independence and interdependence. I can only hope that our children take away something useful and inspiring from their every encounter in Drama.