Art Curriculum Intent
At Stillness Infant School we value art and creativity. Our vision is that every child has access to an engaging, challenging and inspiring art education, develops the confidence to express themselves and can discover their talents. Our ambitious curriculum ensures that our children learn the knowledge and skills they need to enable them to create their own works of art, craft and design.
- Values like creativity, perseverance and determination are embedded throughout the creative process. We create art as a whole school which we showcase to the community through exhibitions, sculptures and installations for events (Remembrance day, Christmas, Covid 19), bringing the school together to express our value of community.
- We want all children to learn about a range of diverse artists (gender, ethnic, cultural and disabled) including Yoyoi Kusama, Yinka Shonibare, Anni Albers, Louise Bourgeois and Kandinsky, that reflect and celebrate the diverse backgrounds and cultures of our school. Our curriculum is designed to enable disadvantaged children, or children with SEND or EAL to develop their knowledge and skills and feel proud of their creations. Disadvantaged children are given the opportunity to explore their ideas experiences and imagination through our high-quality Art Club.
- We want all children to benefit from the wellbeing that can come from being creative or in flow.
- Our ambitious art curriculum, is designed so that knowledge and skills are taught sequentially and built on each year. Children can use the skills they develop across the curriculum. All children are supported to achieve a successful outcome.
- Our children learn to communicate the skills and techniques they use with greater fluency. They can discuss a range of great artists and craftmakers, describing their different practices and disciplines and making links to their own work. Children develop an understanding of how to evaluate and critique their own work. High quality art books are available for all children to access in our art library. Our children learn about illustrators like Axel Scheffler and Eric Carle, which deepen their knowledge, understanding and connection to some well-loved stories.
- We maximise our proximity to central London and the cultural capital that London offers by broadening the experiences of all children. These include trips to the Horniman museum and the Tate Modern, providing children with rich opportunities for artistic experiences.
Art Curriculum Implementation
At Stillness Infant School, Art is highly valued.
In our Early Years Foundation Stage, a careful balance of direct teaching and continuous provision is used to support children to acquire knowledge and skills. Our children have access to high quality continuous art provision both in the indoor and outdoor areas, and our environment is carefully developed to invite children to explore and extend their own ideas.
In addition, directed art activities, which are linked to topics and build on children’s prior learning, are delivered. This gives children opportunities to rehearse, consolidate and extend their skills.
Children are offered a wide range of projects to ensure they develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using line, colour and shape.
They are supported to develop the fine motor skills needed to be able to hold a pencil or pen to draw, a paintbrush, use a glue stick or scissors.
During the summer term, children learn about two artists which starts to prepare them for KS1. Children begin to develop an understanding of what art can be e.g. painting, drawing, sculpture, illustration, where you might find art and the breadth of what is possible.
In Key Stage 1, children are taught by a specialist art teacher and their class teacher. Team teaching means the children benefit from the rigour of excellent subject knowledge combined with support of the class teacher’s deeper knowledge of the individual children. It also means that class teachers are well placed to revisit knowledge and understanding to help children to remember content long term. Opportunities during the school day to view websites for the artists children have learnt about, read stories about artists or quiz the children, are maximised.
Lessons take place in an excellently resourced, dedicated art room for their weekly timetabled lesson. The art library is next to the art room and children use the books in the lessons. Children work on a project each half term which is linked to their topic, building on skills and knowledge, lesson by lesson. Each child has an art sketchbook to record their learning. This progressive and sequential approach means children are able use a range of materials creatively to design and make and to use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination. Children develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space. Children learn about a range of diverse artists, craft makers and designers, and develop an understanding of who the artist is and why and how the artist created their art.
Children learn the vocabulary associated with the skills and techniques used for each project. The process of how to evaluate and critique their own work is taught, so that children can express what they would do better next time. Children discuss the work of artists and use the associated vocabulary to describe the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and make links to their own work.
SEND and EAL children are given additional support to ensure that they can achieve the same outcome as their peers. Clear, direct feedback is given whilst children are developing their projects and children are assessed every half term.
Children have rich opportunities to broaden their artistic experience and cultural capital through numerous trips. Children visit the Tate Modern, National Gallery, Horniman Museum and go out to the local park to sketch the London skyline.
Pupils work is showcased on our school website, displays in the hall, in classrooms, exhibitions and in one off installation projects. Displays show the creative process as well as the final outcome, so that children can see the steps that were involved. The whole school works together to create an installation to commemorate Remembrance Day. Every class takes part in the National Gallery’s Take One Picture and creates their own response to the chosen artwork, which is then shown in an exhibition. We also have a Christmas Decoration event, where every class creates a decoration and a board display for the hall to celebrate Christmas.
This fantastic art project during lockdown in 2021 was part of the Year 1 ‘Unique UK’ topic. Inspired by the dragon emblem on the Welsh flag, the children designed and made a dragon’s eye sculpture from air drying clay. They looked at the scale textures of different creatures and thought about how they could recreate them in clay. The children designed their dragon’s eye on paper first. Some children wanted to create a fire, ice or rainbow dragon. They experimented making different marks in the clay with tools such as paper clips, straws and lolly sticks. The clay was then moulded into an oval shape before pushing a coloured glass eye into the clay and creating an eyebrow to add expression. They then followed their design and covered the clay with different scale patterns. Once the clay had dried and hardened the children were able to paint their creations following their designs. We even showed them how to make their own paint at home!
We are Lewisham – February Challenge
Our amazing Art Ambassadors have created these wonderful walruses as part of a project for We Are Lewisham, the London Borough of Culture. They will be displayed in an exhibition at Lewisham shopping centre after half term.
An exciting project at Stillness Infants, Summer 2022
Stillness Infants presented its own Art Exhibition, working with the National Gallery ‘Take One Picture’ national programme for primary schools, which aims to inspire a lifelong love of art and learning. Each year there is a new picture from the Gallery’s collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms.
We introduced the painting to our art ambassadors and all the children to discuss our project based on the picture. We included the following elements
- Painting links: Work links back to the focus painting
- Investigative approach: Projects are shaped by child-led research
- Process: Children have the opportunity to learn a new process inspired by the painting
- Cross-curricular learning: Projects make meaningful links across the curriculum
- Community: Learning involves people or places in the local community
This year we explored the Gallery’s Take One Picture focus painting, ‘A Shipwreck in Stormy Seas’ by Claude-Joseph Vernet. Nature at its most awe-inspiring lies at the heart of Vernet’s painting. A storm rages, two ships roll in the crashing waves as bolts of lightning strike the horizon. The survivors rescue what they can.
Take One Picture Art Exhibition 29th and 30th June 2022
Y1 Dragon’s Eye Project 2022
This fantastic art project was part of the Year 1 Unique UK topic. Inspired by the dragon emblem on the Welsh flag, the children designed and made a dragon’s eye sculpture from air drying clay.
First, the children designed their dragon’s eye on paper. Some children wanted to create a fire, ice or water dragon. Next the children looked at the scale textures of different creatures and thought about how they could recreate them in clay. They experimented making different marks in playdough with tools such as paper clips, straws, lolly sticks and even pasta tubes! They used their fingers to shape and mould the playdough and experimented pinching the clay to make spikes. After exploring with playdough, the children confidently moulded air drying clay into an oval shape before pushing a coloured glass eye into the clay and creating an eyebrow to add expression. They then followed their design and covered the clay with different scale patterns. Once the clay had dried and hardened the children used metallic paint to decorate their creations, following their designs or making some changes to improve their design. The finishing touches were some glitter and a shiny, protective glaze. The children were so proud of their finished pieces and of the skills they had developed during creating them.
Y2 Art Project 2022
Year Two looked at the art of Brazilian artist Nixiwaka Yawanawa during their Rainforest topic. They shared what they noticed about his bold, colourful style inspired by the plants and animals of the Brazilian rainforest. The first piece of work was the children’s representation of the rainforest inspired by Nixiwaka’s use of colour and pattern. Next the children learned about the colour wheel and how to mix two primary colours to make secondary colours. They also learned about complementary colours, noticing that they are opposite on the colour wheel and that using them in artworks together creates contrast and makes them really stand out!
The children used their knowledge of shape, pattern and colour to create a bold canvas design in their sketchbooks. They included a natural feature, rainforest plants, an animal and simple repeating patterns. Some children even created symmetrical designs. They carefully drew their design onto the canvas before painting using primary and secondary colours. They noticed how the complementary colours made the different features of their work stand out.
To finish off, the children carefully outlined the plants and animals with a black pen to really show off the details. They reflected on how their work was similar and different to Nixiwaka and how he had influenced their work. The children’s work looks amazing displayed in our school entrance!
Y1 Sense Art Autumn Term 2022/23
Year 1 used their senses of sight, touch, hearing and smell during their first art project of the year! We looked at the work of Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky and how he often listened to music while he painted. The children shared what they observed in his colourful, abstract paintings:
“The lines look like wires.” Alice
“I can see a snail shell.” Seymour
“I see a boat.” Arthur
The children listened to a range of music, painting in time to the rhythm and reacting to the volume and different instruments they could hear. The children enjoyed exploring paint with different smells like rose, coffee and mint even using paintbrushes with bells attached so they could hear the different rhythms as they painted!
They explored using different dry and wet materials, choosing colours and making marks according to how the music made them feel. They created beautiful watercolour backgrounds then added oil pastel shapes and collaged paper shapes as the final layer. Each artwork is completely unique just like our talented young artists!
Y2 Colourful Bug Art Autumn 2022/23
Year 2 developed their observational drawing skills during their colourful bug project. The children looked at the work of three artists – Rosalind Monks, Lucy Arnold and Kelly Stanford noticing the similarities and differences in their work. They looked at how the artists use detail, colour and pattern in different ways to draw and paint bugs. They observed real bugs set in resin blocks and explored how to make different marks on paper to show the details. They learned where to start on the paper when drawing to fill the page and how to scale up a small drawing. They blended oil pastels to create new colours looking carefully at which colours were on their chosen bug.
The stunning backgrounds were created by drawing patterns and shapes with white oil pastel then painting over the top with liquid watercolour. The children described this process as “magical” when their patterns appeared through the paint!
We are so proud of the fantastic results and of all the wonderful new skills the children developed during this exciting project.