Visual art for elementary school children is like breathing. Because of this natural inclination, students in grades K-6 are introduced to a variety of media. They use paint, clay, plaster, fabric of different kinds, paper, and glass, etc.
All children in our coed K-6 elementary school use these materials to learn all the key principles and elements of art. Through many different art activities they master the skills to practice these principles as well as to feel comfortable with the media and tools they use.
Art appreciation and aesthetics are taught to aid the student artist in personal expression. While viewing the works of artists from different periods of history and also from different cultures, our children learn a rich aesthetic vocabulary, sensibility, and knowledge to critique their own work. Some of the artists we study in depth are Leonardo da Vinci, Georgia O’Keeffe, Vincent van Gogh, Faith Ringgold, Wayne Thiebaud, Maria Martinez, René
Magritte, Paul Klee, etc. The cultures and periods of history covered are also varied. In any given year, classes can travel in their aesthetic journey from Prehistory to the Renaissance —
from West Africa to Ancient Greece and Maya civilization.
Emphasis is also placed on blending the students’ academic curriculum with the work they are creating in the art studio. The fourth grade does an extensive study of the Lenape in Social Studies while in art they are learning art traditions of many different Native American tribal groups.
Guest artists often come to visit. For the last 10 years, we have been fortunate to have the artist Ibou Ndoye who hails from Dakar, Senegal. He has taught us the West African tradition of reverse glass painting. A former Oak Knoll graduate, Rob Ventura will run workshops for our students in digital art.
By participating in the creative process, our young artists decide what they want to do, select the appropriate material, and design ways to complete their projects. During the Spring Arts Festival, student artists proudly display their artwork in an art show in Bonaventura Hall. All are invited to this culminating and celebratory event.