Art and Design Subject Rationale
"Art encourages children to think, developing skills and confidence as they go." (F. Kohl)
Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. We recognise the importance of a high-quality art and design education, from Early Years to Key Stage 2, that engages, inspires, challenges and equips children with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As our children progress, they are supported to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They learn how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.
By the time our pupils leave us at the end of Key Stage 2, the Chalklands Art and Design Curriculum ensures they:
produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, printing, textiles, and digital art
learn, think, write and speak like artists drawing upon the key elements of art and design: colour, texture, tone, line, shape, form, and space
learn, think, read, write and speak like artists drawing upon the key principles of art and design: balance, rhythm, pattern, emphasis, contrast, unity, and movement
evaluate, analyse and respond to creative works (their own, their peers, and those of others) using the language of art, craft and design
know about great artists, craft makers and designers, of differing time periods, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms
are confident to express themselves with individuality, and articulate and evaluate their abilities, free from fear
are brave, take risks, give things a go, and tackle a final piece applying the learnt skills
For those teaching art, supported by comprehensive individual unit overviews, the Chalklands Art Curriculum aims to provide clarity over starting point, end goal, skills focus for each unit and, therefore, time to focus on how best to teach and reach these outcomes. It aims to encourage teachers to model and embody the value of ‘it is ok to make a mistake’ and an appreciation of the subjectivity of art - perfection is not the intention.
Content and Sequencing
The Chalklands Curriculum Principles guided the decisions made during the design and construction of the Chalklands Art Curriculum. In addition, the Chalklands Art Curriculum builds upon the attainment targets set out in the National Curriculum’s Art programme of study.
The acquisition and development of art and design knowledge and skills begins in the Early Years - in particular, within the area of learning entitled ‘expressive arts and design’. Here we create an ethos of curiosity, exploration, and a love of learning through purposefully planned responses to children’s interests, continuous provision, high quality interactions, real-life experiences and a stimulating, enabling, language-rich indoor and outdoor learning environment.
In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, within the Chalklands Art and Design Curriculum, art and design knowledge and skills are grouped into half termly units of learning. Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 year groups study one painting (for some, printing), one sculpting (for some, collaging), and one drawing unit each year. Children become proficient in these areas by developing skill and control, working within different techniques, and working with clarity of purpose. As well as skills development, within these units, children:
acquire knowledge about great artists, craft and designers including how they themselves used the formal elements of art the children will go on to use
develop creatively as they explore ideas, invent, imagine, and problem solve
Reflectively analyse and evaluate their own work and that of others (known and unknown).
Proficiency in working with textiles is achieved in the Chalklands Design and Technology Curriculum, and proficiency in digital art is achieved in the Chalklands Computing Curriculum. We achieve progression within each area through deliberate decisions about the media, tools, and outcomes children work with. For example, within painting, children acquire knowledge of the properties of poster paint, powdered paint, and block paint in Key Stage 1 and, additionally, watercolour and acrylic in Key Stage 2.
We have carefully sequenced units of learning within and across year groups. Our decision making process involved several points. Fundamentally, our sequencing decisions demonstrate our recognition of the importance of children developing a secure understanding of each unit before returning to the same strand in the following year. Sequencing decisions also reflect opportunities to forge purposeful and immersive cross curricular links which intend to maximise children’s engagement with and motivation to study art. Sometimes, the term’s topic acts as a stimulus for the art unit’s final outcome. For example, when comparing the UK to Brazil in geography in year 2, in the art sculpture unit, children sculpt human figures to depict a carnival scene. In other units, art from a point in time is used to inspire children’s outcomes. For example, while learning about Ancient Egypt in history in year 4, in art, children draw upon Ancient Egyptian art as inspiration for the outcomes of their drawing unit. At other points, a connection across the curriculum is used to elicit an artist or piece of art to act as a stimulus for the art unit outcome. For example, when children in year 6 complete an artist study of Kandinsky in the same half term as the geography unit in which they learn about the physical geography (biomes and vegetation belts) of Russia.
Each autumn term unit starts with an opportunity for children to create a self-portrait. A collection of these are built, year upon year, showcasing children’s drawing proficiency.
Children’s artist studies, as a focus for a unit or within analyse and appraise lesson staters, are selected to reflect a range of cultures, social groups and people to mirror and broaden children’s experiences and actively encourage anti-racism and discourage discrimination. They ensure children see a range of art, and from diverse artists, from across the world and throughout time.
Sketchbooks have long been an integral part of the art and design curriculum and are an important part of children’s creativity expression. We recognise that although most artists would draw in a hardbound, paper book, some artists use other ways of recording their thoughts and ideas. For example, Van Gogh and Frida Khalo wrote as much as they drew while others recorded their thoughts using audio devices. Not treated like traditional exercise books, our children’s sketchbooks are unique and demonstrate a record of their individual expression, thoughts, ideas, and feelings across a topic. They are a place where children record their journey of inspiration from an artist study, practise the skills being developed to ideas ahead of a final piece, and experiment and make and celebrate mistakes.
The Chalklands Art and Design Curriculum reflects the importance of spoken language in children’s development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. It reflects our understanding that the quality and variety of language that children hear and speak are key factors in developing their art and design vocabulary and articulating art and design concepts clearly and precisely. Children are assisted in making their thinking clear, both to themselves and others; teachers ensure that children build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.
Our pedagogical principles drive teaching and learning across our school - including within Art and Design. They support the transfer of knowledge and skills from working to long term memory, strengthen memories, increase retention, build deep, holistic, connected, and sustainable thinking, and ensure all children know more, remember more, and can do more.
At Chalklands, we understand the importance of outdoor learning as it encourages children to develop an appreciation of the outdoors whilst broadening the range of environments in which they experience learning. In turn, this enables them to have enhanced, and therefore more memorable, learning experiences. We aim to deliver aspects of our art curriculum using the outdoor learning approach, where appropriate, to give the children the chance to gain those exciting and engaging art experiences.
Art and Design: the development of conceptual ideas and technical proficiency - an opportunity for creative expression.