The art program at SMS offers weekly instruction in the formal elements and principles of art in developmentally appropriate ways to kindergarten through grade six. The goal of the program is for students to develop an understanding of art as a language. The curriculum is built on a foundation of respect and enjoying the creative process within a variety of media. At all levels, students are introduced to the work of well-known artists and various traditional arts of cultures around the world. Projects may be individual, collaborative, or connected to topics in other areas of the curriculum.
At the kindergarten level, the focus is on developing coordination, using art tools effectively, and functioning independently in the art room. Children are introduced to basic techniques and materials for 2- and 3-D projects. Experimentation and discovery are encouraged. Topics are usually driven by the interests of the students. Art Circle helps children gain confidence in presenting their work in front of the group.
In Lower Elementary, projects stem from observational forms of art such as landscapes, still lifes, botanical drawings, portraits, and representational sculpture. A variety of techniques and materials are used to create 2D and 3D works. Students are encouraged to understand that a finished product often requires several steps, and to view “accidents” and “mistakes” as opportunities. At Art Circle students present their work, and learn to comment on the work of others in a positive and constructive manner.
In Upper Elementary, the focus is on art as a tool for communication. At this level, students begin to use tools, materials, and the language of art in more precise and purposeful ways. The elements and principles of art provide a framework for working with a variety of materials in representational and abstract forms. We explore mixed media, and learn to use more advanced tools and materials. Students are encouraged to have confidence in their personal style and to express ideas and emotions in their work. At Art Circle, they have an opportunity to present their work and to seek input from teachers and peers.