Art and Design at New Milton Infant School
At New Milton Infant School we recognise the importance of Art as a way for children of all abilities to communicate and express what they see, feel and think through visual, tactile and sensory experiences. The high quality teaching of art and design is underpinned by the school vision and values, supporting our children’s development, social and emotional health and well-being. ‘Every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.’ (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)
Our broad, imaginative, creative and carefully sequenced curriculum allows children to experiment with a range of materials and to explore colour, texture, shape, form and pattern. It exposes them to a wide range of mediums and techniques which progressively improve their skills and confidence in Art and Design from the Early Years Foundation Stage through to Year 2. We promote how Art has enriched our history and culture by using an exciting range of artists and designers from different times and cultures, to inspire our children and to encourage them to experiment with their own ideas and create their own unique works of art. ‘A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.’ (National Curriculum, DfE 2013)
In the Early Years Foundation Stage children develop their artistic skills as they encounter the Expressive Art and Design element of the EYFS curriculum. Children start their artistic journey in Year R by:
- Exploring, using and refining a variety of artistic effects to express their ideas and feelings.
- Returning to and building on their previous learning, refining ideas and developing their ability to represent them.
- Creating collaboratively, sharing ideas, resources and skills.
The Early Years environment plays a major role in children’s artistic development and all Year R classrooms have an Art and Craft area. Adults introduce new artistic effects to the children and children are invited to make their own artistic choices as they create independently, selecting what they need during continuous provision.
In Key Stage One children continue their artistic journey by following the National Curriculum and are taught:
- to use a range of materials creatively to design and make products.
- to use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination.
- to develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space.
- about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making
links to their own work.
At New Milton Infant School, we provide a variety of opportunities for children to develop their skills and confidence in art and design on a regular basis, both inside and outside the classroom. We aim to empower our children to make their own creative choices by giving them the time and support they need to make increasingly informed and independent decisions about the materials and techniques they use. We do this by modelling processes and teaching age appropriate techniques in drawing, painting, print-making, textiles and 3D modelling and construction. Modelling a new skill or technique helps all our children, but particularly those with additional needs and EAL, as well as some of our less confident artists, to build a growth mind set and positive attitude as the teacher is able to ‘think aloud’ and share ways of overcoming difficulties.
We actively encourage our children to play and experiment with thoughtfully selected materials, through which they can enjoy problem solving and making their own exciting discoveries. We support our children in understanding that what we call ‘happy accidents’ in Art can often lead to some of the most exciting and inspirational learning in Art.
In addition to the Art we do on a regular basis, we have an Art Week each year, where the teaching team work together to plan fun, engaging activities linked to the annually chosen theme. These weeks offer children the opportunity to learn additional skills and techniques in art. They also provide an important opportunity for parents and carers to engage with the school to celebrate and share their children’s learning and fantastic creations in whole school exhibitions.
We celebrate the cultural diversity in our school. In order for all children to achieve the learning objectives identified in the National Curriculum and the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, including our children with additional needs and EAL, our teachers skilfully entwine giving children high quality first hand experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. We invite local artists and designers into school to further enrich art and design experiences for our children.
We ensure that we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout our whole school through art learning journeys. Our progression document ensures that the National Curriculum objectives and Art within the Expressive Arts in the EYFS are covered and that the skills and knowledge taught is progressive throughout the school.
Art and Design at New Milton Infant School champions creativity and independent thought, teaching our children to appreciate that there are many different forms of art. Our Art and Design curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression across a wide range of art skills and processes. We focus on the progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression also form part of each unit of work.
We assess our children’s skills and progression in a variety of ways:
- Art books in Early Years and KS1.
- Subject leader has discussions with Early Years staff to see where the children are at in Art at the end of the school year on the ‘windshield’ of assessment.
- Photographs during monitoring and lessons posted onto Dojo.
- Videos which capture different stages of children’s practical engagement in their learning.
- We carry out pupil conferencing on a regular basis to gain a better insight to the children’s understanding of their own learning.
- We talk to our children about their art and we encourage them to feel increasingly confident about sharing their thoughts and ideas about their own and each other’s artwork too.
- Although art is a subject that can be interpreted in so many different ways by an individual. We regularly assess the children’s developing art skills against the art criteria to monitor how they are getting on, and adapt our teaching of skills to support the children’s development.
- We hold moderation staff meetings where we consider children’s sketchbooks, providing an opportunity for a professional dialogue between teachers to understand their children’s work and annual reporting of standards across the curriculum.
- Once children have mastered foundational knowledge in Art, they will begin to show the application of this in a more in depth and independent way. At New Milton Infant School we take a holistic approach to support all children to show mastery of learning at their own level.
By the end of their time with us, we want our children to have learned, improved and embedded a wide range of artistic skills. They will have an awareness of a broad range of contemporary and more traditional artists and designers, and will be able to consider and discuss the artworks they come across with increasing confidence. We want our children to be confident to explore, experiment and take risks, placing value on the process and learning journey that they take, not just on the finished product. Most importantly, we want children to have found and enjoyed a creative outlet, a way of supporting their own social and emotional health and development – a means of self-expression and enjoyment which they will hopefully keep throughout their life.