The Visual Arts Program at Centreville Layton exposes students to the language of the visual arts, supporting creative exploration and self-expression in a non-judgmental environment. The curriculum introduces the students to various age and developmentally appropriate materials and techniques for both 2-D and 3-D projects, including drawing, painting, ceramic arts, sculpture, printmaking, graphic arts, textiles, jewelry, and media arts. While these lessons are designed to meet the National Visual Arts Standards, it is the strengths, interests, and readiness of the individual students that guide the art room activities on a daily basis.
Drawing lessons that employ the basic shapes as building blocks begin at the pre-K level, as does exposure to famous paintings and other art forms from various time periods and cultures. Even at this early age, young artists are learning how to observe, envision, innovate, and reflect while they draw and paint. A variety of age-appropriate materials are presented, along with activities designed to encourage open-ended exploration. Small motor skills that are targeted in OT are also practiced. The goal is to provide a safe and fun environment where children begin to experience the joy of mark-making and plenty of “I did it!” moments.
At the early elementary level, formal instruction begins with step by step demonstrations and supporting visual resources. While learning to use the tools safely and correctly, the students are encouraged to rely on their self-expression while meeting the challenges of the lessons. Throughout this process, students are taught that there are no mistakes in the art room, just problems (or puzzles) to solve.
At the middle elementary levels, the art program offers an increasing amount of technical information in a wide variety of media, always continuing to focus on self-expression. Upper elementary level lessons are designed to meet the students’ growing readiness to focus on craftsmanship. Personal goals are discussed and drawing lessons become an increasingly important part of the curriculum. The elements of art and design, as well as more formal studies of art history, art appreciation, and critiques also begin to play a greater role.
Throughout the elementary years in the Lower Level, the goal of the Visual Arts Program is to lay a foundation for visual interpretation, to provide a sense of accomplishment, to nurture self-esteem, to teach basic problem solving, and to know the joy of self-expression.
The Middle School Art Program continues to expose Centreville Layton students to the language of visual arts in a non-judgmental environment. At this level, the curriculum places more emphasis on the elements and principles of art while also building the student’s comfort level and competency with a wider and more sophisticated range of materials and techniques. Projects frequently take multiple class sessions and include creative risk-taking, idea development, problem solving, planning, technical skill, and follow-through. Art history, major art movements, and cultural art forms are integrated into the lessons as well, providing opportunities for gaining an aesthetic appreciation and the art vocabulary needed for discussion. All lessons are designed with the National Visual Art Standards in mind so that students are ready for a high school art program.
Throughout Middle School, the ultimate goal for the visual arts is to teach the joy of self-expression and the use of imagination to solve problems creatively. When imagination is at play, future-thinking is engaged.