Pre-K to Third Grade
In the CAIS visual art classroom, students learn to use a wide variety of art materials and processes including clay, drawing, print making, painting, textiles and sculpture. The emphasis for Pre-K through second grade visual art is hands on, studio time with art materials. Art activities are also used to promote and enhance children’s learning in literacy, such as writing and illustrating stories and labeling pictures, sequencing and patterning.
Students learn about the art world through viewing and discussing work by adult artists from a wide variety of places, cultures and time periods. The art curriculum is designed to promote a positive self-image, sensory awareness, growing independence and an eagerness to learn. Students are encouraged to manipulate and create with a variety of materials and engage in a variety of art-making processes. Social interaction and communication skills are particularly important to the students’ verbal and visual expressions of ideas and feelings.
Fourth and Fifth Grade
In the higher grades of lower school, students become visually literate and apply the language of art to their understanding of the discipline, and explore opportunities for visual communication and personal expression. As with learning any new language and skill set, students build upon the foundation from Pre-K to third grade studio art and expand their knowledge of terms and techniques.
During these developmental years, fourth and fifth grade students work from their memories, observations of their immediate environments and their imaginations. They relate their ideas to specific art terms such as the elements of art and principles of design, and begin communicating connections. A student working on a project inspired by nature might be asked where, or on what they have noticed patterns. Creative and critical thinking engages students and asks them to answer the question “why?”. Students continue to develop the fine motor skills required for handling tools more effectively. They are exposed to and experiment with a range of supplies from hammer and nail to a variety of art brushes in order to discriminate about which tools will serve their intended outcome. In preparation for Middle School the fifth graders are encouraged to be inquisitive and become more independent with their decision making. Constant reflection and brainstorming activities remind them that the work can evolve and adapt.
Visual Art in Middle School centers around the student as a developing Artist. The Middle School Visual Art Curriculum is designed to explore the formal, aesthetic and expressive possibilities in the interaction of two and three-dimensional media. With an emphasis on studio production, students are challenged and supported to think critically, to problem solve, and communicate effectively during the art making process. The Elements of Art and Principles of Design are applied to every project in every grade level. Traditional application of art making methods are discussed and taught as they relate to being used for expression while accommodating 21st century technological shifts.