Art at southfield
“If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.” Edward Hopper
At Southfield Junior School we value art as an important part of the children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum. Art provides the children with unique opportunities to express and explore their individual creativity whilst learning about and making links with a wide spectrum of different types of art in our society. We also aim to develop the children’s understanding of their own and others’ cultural heritages through studying a diverse range of male and female artists alongside designers and architects, past and present.
Art contributes to children’s personal development in creativity, independence and self-reflection. Moreover, it enables pupils to develop a natural sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. At Southfield Junior School, we believe that art should be a practical, hands-on, experimental experience for children. They are provided with opportunities to explore a range of varied and appropriate materials, encouraged to stretch their imaginations and are equipped with the skills to reflect and critically evaluate their work.
The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
- Become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques
- Evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
- Know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in art, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Our weekly art lessons are closely linked to our termly topics (where possible) and focus on the knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. The National Curriculum states that:
Pupils should be taught to develop their techniques, including their control and their use of materials, with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design.
Pupils (in Key Stage 2) should be taught:
- to create sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas
- to improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials [for example, pencil, charcoal, paint, clay]
- about great artists, architects and designers in history.
The emphasis on knowledge ensures that children understand the context of the artwork, as well as the artists that they are learning about and being inspired by. This enables links to other curriculum areas, including humanities, with children developing a considerable knowledge of individual artists, architects and designers, as well as famous art movements. Additionally, a focus on skills means that children are given opportunities to express their creative imagination, as well as practise and develop mastery in multi-media techniques including painting; drawing; printing; sculpting and pattern making.
At Southfield Junior School, our art lessons are delivered by our art specialist and cover a range of topics including (but not limited to) caveman art, illustrations, portraits and perspective. The works of famous local, national and international artists are also explored to enhance the children’s learning. Typically, the children go through a three-part process over the space of a term to ensure that they acquire the skills and knowledge that is set out in our progression document. The three-part process is as follows:
Preparation: children have the opportunity to look back and consolidate previously learnt skills. They then become fully immersed into their topic by looking at artists, architects and designers that are relevant to their project and explore relevant history and culture. The children spend time building a bank of knowledge that will assist in the design of their work and focus on vocabulary that is of importance to the topic. As children progress through the school, they are also equipped with the skills to engage with a detailed design brief.
Process: following on from this, children work on the implementation of their ideas; they have the opportunity to experiment with different media and techniques. Children use their own findings to decide which media would be most appropriate for their final piece(s) of work. Often, the children will recreate the same piece of work using various types of media. They will be encouraged to use their own imagination to see beyond just one way of working.
Conclusion: finally, the children have the opportunity to evaluate their work and compare it to their design brief (if applicable). Children will state what they like about their final piece and are encouraged to reflect on how they could improve if they were to do it again; this self-reflection is guided by teacher feedback and peer evaluation. This process also allows the children to consider alternate methods of application for future reference. During evaluation, children are encouraged to explain and justify their own style, technique and artist preferences, use appropriate learnt vocabulary and refer back to the historical and cultural context of their work.