I love art and everything creative, stimulating and visual. To me it includes music, dance, literature, drama, painting in all mediums, drawing, designing, graphics, sculpture, quilting and of course anything to do with writing…!
Art should be an integral part of every child’s education, particularly at primary and kindergarten level, but unfortunately, it is not. Where we are, no other schools have art as a subject and barely any form of drama or drawing classes. There are no creative writing classes and very little singing and dancing. All these creative skills are essential to a young child growing up and developing fine motor skills, hand and eye coordination and social and emotional skills. All of this development improves their brain functioning and sense of wellbeing.
Sport does not figure strongly either. Most schools start off the year with a couple of weeks athletic practice, followed by a whole school sports day and then that’s it, back to the academics. Fortunately most of the kids around our town are very active, as they usually walk to school and when they get home, there are always plenty of chores to do, including washing their own clothes, sweeping and doing dishes.
Most local schools have very inadequate playgrounds and their play area is just barren dirt. We have a metal slide, a few swings, a climbing frame, an area where they can play badminton and catch and space for them to hula hoop. They have sport once a week to learn how to cooperate in team games and during the year they practise for a cross country run (around the school grounds) and later for some sprint and relay races.
The tyre swing is an absolute favourite. It’s chain has broken a few times as they swing too high or with too many on board. Someone even landed on their head once, but they have tough heads!
Racing to be first through the gate in cross country practice.
The school grounds are small but varied with large rocks and steep narrow pathways for them to play around. As you can see, they are as agile as little gazelle and have very little fear of heights. Oh and we have no safety inspectors making the rounds to see if our play area is safe.
We learn a little bit about the elements of art, like line, shape and texture and I subscribe to a very helpful art program from the US, that delivers all kinds of different art themes at various levels monthly.
Collage is another great favourite and gives plenty of scissors practice.
We teach the kids something about Monet or Degas, Cezanne or Mondrian, Klee or Frida and then they paint, draw or colour their own unique pieces. We also look at art from different countries, modern art, the history of art
Fortunately an art teacher friend of one of my daughters, gifted the school a whole lot of acrylic paints, pastels and sketchbooks that should last for some time to come.
Even little ones can learn to paint in the style of Cezanne’s still life apples. I am always thrilled by their work which is usually displayed at school. I know that if it went home it would probably get torn or lost, so we only occasionally let them take a special piece home with them. When our ex-students come back to visit and spend time together once every six weeks or so, they mourn the fact that they can no longer do art.
The letter a is of course the first in the alphabet but I’ve left it till the penultimate…maybe because art has always been such an important part of my life and now I’m enjoying passing on that love to others. While flicking through some photos, I came across the sports shots and the word ‘acrobat’ became the perfect accompaniment!
The phonic sound is short, but the mouth needs to be wide while pronouncing, almost like a smile. It is a little confusing that the letter is also a word by itself, with an ‘er’ sound, that is neither long nor short Writing it doesn’t usually present problems as it is basically a half circle and a short stick on the line. The capital A is also quite distinctive with its two diagonal lines and a bar across.