St Stephen’s places huge importance in the visual arts. We have found it essential to nurture and develop the children’s creativity in 2d, 3d and digital artwork and to celebrate their successes in our many art displays around the school.
The new National Curriculum for Art and Design calls for a clearer awareness of Art history and for a stronger emphasis on drawing skills. We have responded to this in devising our own scheme of work which teaches the children about a range of artists through history, from the Old Masters like Rembrandt, Velazquez or Michelangelo to more modern artists such as Matisse, Picasso or Hockney.
As they study and learn from these paintings, the children will also be taught the rudiments of setting-up and rendering drawings. Among these skills will be: facial and body proportions, one-point perspective, light sources and shadows, complimentary colour and printing techniques. Many of these skills will be developed in the children’s own sketchbooks, which will then inform their more ‘final’ pieces of work.
At St Stephen’s, we also work with external artists and designers to give the children the best possible exposure to the creative arts. During our whole-school, Annual Arts Week, we also concentrate our energies on a wide spectrum of creative, artistic activities which are based around a carefully-chosen painting. The children learn about the painting before embarking on their own creations based on elements, themes or colours found in the piece. Their work takes place in their classroom but is only one part of an inspiring week where they get to dance, act, cook, perform and learn with a wealth of skilled visitors to the school!
It’s been said that Art is a reflection of the society that creates it. We hope that the children’s wonderful pieces that we display in our classrooms and corridors, show our parents and visitors how wonderful our school is too!
Children are fascinated by design and have always enjoyed designing and building their own ‘products’ in class. They are so keen to get started but don’t always get the time to finish. We understand the importance of 3D design and that it is a process that can’t always be rushed! As a result, we allow the children to fully explore both small and larger scale design in a whole school, termly ‘DT day’ at St Stephen’s.
The children are given the whole day to design and make purposeful, functional and appealing products. Working this way allows them the time to properly explore and develop their designs and to use a wider range of tools, materials and equipment.
Our DT days aim to celebrate and highlight good design and allow the children to really ‘get stuck in’ for the whole day! They also allow teachers the time to explain the design process more fully and to give more thorough explanations of designers’ work to inspire and educate the children.
As food and cooking now forms an important part of the Design Technology curriculum, we allow the children to make both sweet and savoury dishes, often with the help of some food industry specialists. As part of their experience, the children learn about the nutritional benefits of different foods as well as where ingredients come from.
The DT days have been an excellent way to show children and staff that design is a collaborative process: The children have had to work closely with each other during these days and our staff have often enjoyed working alongside designers and specialists who have joined our classes.
We aim to inspire children in their making and hope that we play some part in producing future architects, designers!