Art Reflects Who We Are

A third-year student’s self portrait

When it comes to art, a great place to start is the self. Fittingly, our study of Visual Art in Lower Elementary this year began with projects which reflected ourselves. The

A second-year student’s self-portrait

first few art classes have focused on the creation of colourful, mixed-media self-portraits. Older students experimented with shading and hatching techniques as they

A first-year student’s self-portrait

transferred their images onto acetate sheets, which were then superimposed on original painted or collage backgrounds. Younger students used primary colours to create vibrant, abstract backgrounds, upon which they pasted carefully-cut-out photographs of themselves.

Some students also had the opportunity to draw portraits in pencil using one continuous line, while others had the chance to study their faces and create pencil sketches of themselves. This emphasis on portraits carried a simple but strong message: Art is valuable because it can reflect who we are. By creating work that joyfully expresses a sense of identity, we learn that art is something inextricably tied – and truly unique – to human nature.

We invite you to visit the displays of our self-portraits, which are posted on the glass doors of the LED class, and on the wall at the top of the LEU front stairs.

LED self-portraits

LEU self-portraits





More about the MBTS Lower Elementary Visual Arts Program:

This program aims to:

  • Inspire children to recognize beauty in their environment and in their own ideas and work
  • Enrich the children’s abilities to express themselves by exposing and familiarizing them with a wide variety of art media and techniques
  • Cultivate an understanding of the fundamental aesthetic elements and principles of art and design
  • Instill an appreciation for the social value of art as a means of communication and as an expression of idea, feeling and beauty

In order to achieve these essential objectives, the Lower Elementary Visual Arts Program at MBTS  focuses on three fundamental aspects of Visual Art:

Creation and Imagination – Students are given every opportunity to form original ideas, by drawing inspiration from the ideas of other great artists, by connecting their own experiences and knowledge to their work, and by solving problems that do not have an immediately obvious solution. The elementary plane is a critical period for developing the imagination but it must be specified that imagination is not limited to the ability to conjure ideas when faced with a blank page. True creativity is the ability to fill in gaps in knowledge or solve problems in ways that are not immediately obvious, by using one’s own knowledge, experiences and abilities. Students are thus actively challenged with the “problem” or “limits” of each lesson or project. Cross-curricular connections will be key catalysts to further fuel creative thought, build lateral thinking and cultivate the synthesis of knowledge.

Response and Appreciation – Students develop an appreciation for art as a means for social communication and as a means of human expression. Students develop this appreciation by gaining awareness of various art forms in their environment and local community, by learning to clearly identify and analyze the principal elements that are utilized in visual art, by understanding how visual imagery is effectively used to communicate, and by developing the ability to use images to express their own thoughts and feelings. Analysis, reflection and offering feedback on art – both one’s own and that of others – is a fundamental component in this stream.

Exploration and Expression – An idea is only limited by the artist’s ability to express it. Students are introduced to and familiarized with a wide variety of media, tools, techniques and art forms – including drawing, painting, print-making and sculpture – with which they can express their own ideas, feelings and stories. Fine motor skills are inevitably developed, through the use of refined movements to create two-dimensional images and three-dimensional forms.

These three streams of focus are inextricably connected and permeate all aspects of the curriculum. Lessons will focus on one of the three streams on a rotating basis, in order to maintain a vibrant balance of emphasis. Spontaneous learning and cross-curricular project opportunities are actively incorporated into the class.

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