The Expressive Arts and Design sections of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017) and the National Curriculum Art and Design Programmes of Study (2014) form the roots of Windmill L.E.A.D Academy’s art and design curriculum. From this national documentation, Windmill L.E.A.D Academy’s art and design curriculum has been devised, developed and personalised to our school community, having evolved from our values, vision, and mission statement.
Our art curriculum is underpinned by the national curriculum statement for art:
Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. 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. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.
At Windmill, we understand that high-quality art and design education teaches children a specific set of skills, many of which are exclusive to the art curriculum, namely: imagination and creativity; expression; visual thinking; observational skills; problem solving; analytical skills, individuality and autonomy. Engaging with art is essential to the human experience and one of the most natural forms of expression, which humans begin to develop early on in life. We, at Windmill, endeavour to continue our learners’ art education by:
- encouraging children’s natural expression of self through a range of different medium and experiences;
- developing children’s proficiency in the building blocks of art;
- developing children’s knowledge and understanding of the arts through exposure to contemporary, classic and diverse artists and designers and their contributions to art across time periods and cultures;
- encouraging children to find inspiration from unlimited and undefined sources and guiding learners to explore and develop their own ideas, developing as artists in their own right.
We aim for all Windmill artists to:
- be fluent in the fundamentals of art, namely observational drawing and colour work;
- be confident, creative and curious in using a range of skills to achieve desired outcomes and effects;
- be adept at finding inspiration from a variety of sources;
- have an extensive art-related vocabulary;
- be knowledgeable about key works of a contemporary, classic and diverse range of art, artists, designers and craftspeople;
- be knowledgeable about the contribution of art over periods in history and across cultures;
- be courageous and positive when solving problems, reflecting on prior knowledge and past successes and failures, and adopting a systematic approach where possible;
- be resilient, adaptable leaders within their own their learning, understanding that struggle is often a necessary step in learning;
- work both independently and collaboratively – demonstrating respect and teamwork – within a safe, secure learning environment.
Our art curriculum is divided into six concepts. These concepts are the ‘big ideas’ in art and travel through the curriculum, being built upon, progressively, year upon year as our children move through the school.
The concepts are as follows:
- A: 2D Art (Drawing, Colour and Painting)
- B: 2D Art (Printing)
- C: 3D Art
- D: Computer Art
- E: Responding to art, artists and designers
- F: Exploring and developing ideas
Fundamental skills in art encompass drawing skills, painting and understanding colour and are represented by concept A. We recognise, and research supports, the skills that are represented by concept A underpin all other elements of art. Therefore, concept A is the most prevalent concept within our art curriculum, while concepts B to D detail the medium and experiences that children will access their art education through, in addition to those included in concept A (drawing and painting).
During each sequence of learning, children are exposed to either contemporary or classic art, artists and designers though concept E. Concept F is woven into the teaching of all elements of art.
At Windmill we adopt a mastery approach to teaching art and therefore, our art and design curriculum progresses in a linear manner. Our pedagogical approach supports mastery: each art and design sequence is taught through a six step pedagogical approach. Every sequence begins with observational drawing (step 1 – concept A), before children are exposed to new art and artists (step 2 – concept E). Children then develop their ideas using different medium (step 3). This ensures that over the year children have the opportunity to develop their skills using pencil, pen, paint, chalk, charcoal and pastel so that children know how to hold, use and apply the media to achieve desired effects, and become proficient in doing so. Children then develop their ideas further through exploration of colour (concept A – step 4), where they are educated about colour names, mixing colours, tints, shades and tones, warm, cool, contrasting and complementary colours and colour for mood, effect and expression. Children then combine their ideas and inspiration into a final piece through either sketching and/or painting (concept A), printing (concept B), 3D Art (concept C) or computer art (concept D)(step 5). Children have the opportunity to work individually and in groups, on both small and large scales, when producing these final pieces.
The sixth step in our pedagogical approach, ‘Step X’, refers to the new or progressive knowledge, skills and understanding that need be introduced during the sequence. Step X can occur at any point, or many points, throughout the sequence. For example, if the intended final piece involves printing, new printing skills will be defined as Step X and will be introduced at an appropriate point within the sequence.
Concept F is woven in to all areas of our art lessons, as children are encouraged to explore and develop their ideas throughout each sequence.
We at Windmill recognise the personal, individualistic nature of art and the importance of allowing for self-expression within art. Therefore, each child in Key Stage 1 and 2 has their own sketch book. Teachers provide guidance and ideas and model how to successfully keep a sketchbook but ultimately, children make their sketchbooks their own. Sketchbooks provide a place for children to practise key skills, reflect, record ideas and inspiration, record information about art and artists, and experiment with styles and qualities. The sketchbooks therefore serve as a tool to document the child’s learning journey in art and importantly, for the child to use as a prompt when creating their final pieces.
Final pieces usually come at the end of a progressive unit of learning, where a range of skills are applied to create an overall effect. Although the content or topic of final pieces is usually guided, due to the fact that it will be based upon that term’s topic, here at Windmill, we encourage ownership and individual style, and believe children should develop as artists in their own right, and therefore, learners are encouraged to produce art personal to their ideas.
If you would like any further information on our art curriculum, please contact the school and ask to speak to Ruth Pickering, our art and design subject leader.