Session Five: ‘Linking to the Curriculum’

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Artist: Helen Barry

Teacher: Bríd McGovern

Class: Junior Infants (4&5yrs)

School: Our Lady Of Mercy School Convent

 Central to my practice is the exploration of the curriculum to discover how and why we learn. I am a kinaesthetic learner and I use my preferred methodology in my work in the classroom. It is important for me to identify current learning tools and achievement within the classroom to support the creative process. I do not use the curriculum as my starting point and I do not believe that the artist’s role in the classroom is an aid to supporting the curriculum. The opportunity for the children to work side by side with a professional artist is a unique platform for growth on many different levels.

In session five I wanted to take elements of what was achieved in the previous two session through more detailed exploration on an individual basis. It seemed that the children thrived on challenges, play and words. In my experience with working with junior infants the learning and forming of words both orally and on the page is a distinct marker in the child’s first year at school. Whilst I am still trying to figure out how we can bring the words with us I know where the direction of 3D constructions is going. The children are fast learners and dexterous with the hands. In session five I want to challenge their visual dexterity and set out a series of tasks that are based on observation, portraits, construction and drawing.

I introduced the session by looking at sphere/circle/oval/ovoid. I used different samples to show the children. We looked at the difference between the shape of a child’s head and an adult’s head. Using a balloon I demonstrated the proportions of the face. We further explored this by inviting them to work with a partner and draw each other. I had to encourage them to draw on a large scale. The children tried this a few times before they were will invited to draw each other without looking at the page.

After the break I gave the children some magnetic shapes and ask then to build 3D shapes. We also used pasta and play dough to further explore building 3D shapes. I left the magnetic shapes with the children to use for the next week. When using playdough it is good to note the amount of the stuff that gets all over the floor and the bottom of shoes!!!!

Whilst the children explored building in 3D at their desks I took a few children at a time to draw each other through transparent sticky contact paper. I had attached the contact to upturned table legs. The children worked in pairs one child drawing whilst the other sat and then swap over. When the portraits were complete we stuck them directly onto the windows.

I set the children a task to draw the people at home or who they spend time with, to get more practice. I also asked them to practice drawing themselves.




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