Introducing Art To Children in the Classroom

-1- The Magic Lantern Art is a wonderful UK-based educational charity that uses great works of art to help children observe and explore the world around them. School sessions that are educational, exciting and fun aim to:

  • use art history as a learning tool across the whole curriculum
  • develop speaking, listening, critical thinking and observational skills
  • help children learn to enjoy famous works of art
  • are suitable for all age groups from Nursery to Year 13

Most importantly Magic Lantern workshops aim to offer

  • A rich and rewarding experience that is available to anyone regardless of age, ability or background
  • Paintings and sculptures can tell amazing stories, teach jaw-dropping facts and raise issues from race and gender to relationships and the environment
  • Gives new perspectives to all subject areas and ignites a passion for culture
  • Helps develop skills including communication, visual observation, speaking and listening, critical thinking and confidence
  • Allows for fun and educational interaction throughout the workshops including role-play soundscapes, freeze-frames and dialogue

-2- Founded by innovative and award-winning filmmaker George Lucas in 1991, George Lucas Educational Foundation, is another great source in searching tips and strategies for helping students develop in the arts because increased self-confidence and self-understanding which in turn help enhance communication skills are among the many reasons for teaching the arts. They offer solid case studies on how to fuel creativity and making an event out of art as well as tips on how teachers can inspire outside-the-box thinking for students by using problem-based learning, music and art.

Their best advice in incorporating art in young students' curriculum in effective ways is simpe:

START SMALL AND LET IT GROW

It’s important to begin growing community connections and art experiences in your school by taking the first step in a way that feels right for you. Inviting an artist into your school for an afternoon or a day, for example, is a great way to start.

Our school started small, organizing a variety of art experiences for students over the years. We began with an Art and Nature Day for our fifth graders at a local camp. That allowed us to integrate art with science (cyanotype sunprints), English language arts (observation journals), and PE (dance and movement).

Next we organized a weeklong residency with one artist, and over the years this expanded as student excitement grew.

We now have a week of immersion in the arts, giving students choices for personal expression, new opportunities for mentoring, and a wide range of experiences that allow for social and cooperative learning. New art experiences continue to evolve and grow as everyone in our school community shares ideas and resources.

-3- In an ever evolving education landscape that is grappling with new ideas of how, when and where we teach, learn and create, the ARTSEDGE team, instituted in 1996 as the Kennedy Center's educational media arm, has proven another valuable source in reaching out to schools, communities, individuals and families with classroom support and Internet technologies. Darrell M. Ayers, Vice President for Education at the Kennedy Center, says that ARTSEDGE mission is “to connect people to people, to provide arts-centered learning experiences, and to lead the way in digitally-supported arts learning for all citizens.”