I saw a good line when I was out the other day at a project for work and it was along the lines of advice for young people on how to find work. The simple answer of course being find something that you like doing and get someone to pay you for doing it. The sentiments behind this I’m a big believer of and I think that the more opportunities that children are exposed to the more chance they have of finding passions in life that will keep them engaged and who knows may well lead to them finding employment in that field in the long run. That of course could be anything, art, sport, writing, photography, animals etc etc. The primary school where my kids go definitely has this as an ethos as children are exposed to as many opportunities as possible and really encouraged to pursue their own interests. In year 5 there is a residential to Whitby, which is of course the highlight of the year for many of the kids and what I like is how the school adopt a very cross curricular approach to this trip so that for a considerable period leading up to it they bring in all different parts of the curriculum and relate it to Whitby, so they have been looking at history (Captain Cook, Whitby Abbey, Smugglers, St Mary’s Church); geography (map reading, the coast, fossils); literature (The Highwayman poem); science (constellations, rockpools); Art (Julia Crossland) and while this is all great I was particularly impressed by the work that has gone on relating to the Art theme.
Forget your Northern Art Prize, this afternoon saw the school hall turned into an art gallery with all of the year 5 kids showing off their work. I have to admit that I was taken aback by the all the work on display and the depth to which the children had been looking at art. Julia Crossland is a Yorkshire based artist and the sea and coast are recurring themes in her work as highlighted in the picture above. The children had been using her art as a guide looking at where she gets inspiration from, types of paints and colours used, how she constructs the pictures which all led them to create their own Whitby / coast themed pictures using acrylic paint similar in style to Julia’s. On the bustling display boards this afternoon the children not only had their pictures but also they had mind maps of how they had come up with the idea, storyboards or sketches of what they were going to paint and an evaluation of what they would change if they were doing it again and why. Bearing in mind that these are 9 and 10 year olds it was impressive; all had produced really vivid pictures and to cap it off Julia Crossland had come to the school to have a look herself. She was fantastic and took the time to walk round the displays and spoke to every child about their pictures as well as talking to them as a group about how she goes about her work. Now I’m not saying that any of these children will go on to be artists but I have no doubt that the process will have engendered in some of them a love of creativity and if schools can do that in all subjects then the future looks bright. With my daughters kind permission here is the picture that she proudly produced.