Every child in the school was fortunate enough to experience an amazing Art Day on Tuesday, 21st January. The children were engaged in a rich variety of artistic skills linked to the theme of ‘Animals’.  This day was to help us prepare for our exhibition at the Yarrow Gallery (Friday, 6th March to Saturday, 21stMarch).

Art underpins our values in the school. The children are given so many opportunities and can respond in a way that suits them. Being creative shows resilience, and encouraging the children to work collaboratively helps them listen, show empathy and even strengthen their ideas. The day involved problem solving, understanding that small changes can make a large effect, releasing their feelings through their work and allowing the children to make careful judgements. Inspiration was enhanced by the support of visiting artists.

Sam Purcell, a local artist and designer, who creates the beautiful ‘Hare in the Sweater’ designs worked with Year 4 and they produced their own personal sweater motifs for the hares. These designs included flowers, dragons, emojis, and dogs. The children put in so much effort into their creations and had a super day.

William Ashley-Norman taught the Year 6 children to make chicken wire animals. Matthew (Year 6) commented, “Art Day was a good experience because I modelled chicken wire, which I had never done before.”  Sienna (Year 6) added, “it was a great opportunity to try something new.”

Ellie Sandall, a local author and illustrator worked with Reception and Year 1 dancing, singing and making art in response to three of her fabulous books. Miles in Year 1 said, “I really liked seeing the artist.” In addition to Ellie’s visit, the children in Reception had a menagerie of real creatures (including a snake and a chicken) to photograph and touch. Their photos were lovely and showed the viewer the world through the eyes of a four- and five-year-old.

A rather prominent addition to the school was the presence of an enormous giraffe. Hanna Clayton, our Art Technician, was working with children of all ages, papier-maching the structure, ready for the final decoration. This promises to be an impressive construction in our exhibition and will be one of our many pieces that links to the theme of recycling.

In Year 2, the teachers had planned some amazing activities linked to their topic of Kenya. Stunning animal masks were being created and the children painted individual canvases of African animal silhouettes. In addition, they made a large collaborative canvas to give the viewer an even ‘bigger picture’. Learning to tie-dye was also a highlight, in preparation for some animal t-shirt designs.

Having been inspired by George Seurat, the Year 3 children extended their knowledge of Pointillism and decorated seahorses on fabric, using the Pointillist technique. There were some incredible patterns produced. They then decorated flying card parrots in vibrant colours.

After learning about the great Victorian, William Morris, Year 5 children learnt to relief print using lino. Their animal prints were striking and we will use them again to develop the skill of printing even more. It was beneficial to have the time to start and conclude a project in one day. The children also experienced iPad drawing using the application Inspire Pro and Maria commented that she liked, “zooming in to get the detail.”

In school, the teachers noticed there was an incredibly calm, focused atmosphere. There was a lot of collaborative work being experienced, linking beautifully with our Mission statement, and some fabulous discussions and ideas prevailed. Art is a wonderful tool in education and the words of the artist, Bob and Roberta Smith come to the mind; “Art makes children powerful.“ Sir Ken Robinson said that, “Creativity is as important as literacy.” Children are naturally inventive visionaries and having the opportunity to spend a day exploring this side of education was a wonderful opportunity for all involved. Creativity is increasingly important in the job market, so a day concentrating on this concept was entirely productive, helping to develop the children’s perceptions and understanding.

Mrs Sarah Ashby, Art Lead