Art education in Kindergarten is an explorative, process-over-product-based experience. Students are exposed to a variety of art media and taught how to properly use different tools; dexterity and motor skills are a key developmental focus. Experimentation and play have large roles this year to ensure students feel confident using a plethora of materials. Alongside the physical discovery of what materials are capable of, providing vocabulary to articulate what these young students observe around them is essential in this introductory year.
Our theme is Shapes Tell Stories in Kindergarten, so students learn about basic geometric shapes and lines as well as the beginnings of color theory. Solidifying simple vocabulary gives children the opportunity to apply what they know in familiar contexts. We often shout, “Artists use shapes to tell stories!” and with this mantra, use our powers of observation to recognize shapes and lines in a multitude of environments ranging from neighborhoods and trees, to outer space robots, birds, and bugs.
PRIMARY COLOR THEORY
At the beginning of the year, we love experimenting with different materials as we learn about the primary colors! Kindergarteners get to try tissue collage and printmaking!
ERIC CARLE - DRAW ME A STAR
Our first major project of the year involves the Square1 Art Fundraiser. In Kindergarten, we read Eric Carle’s Draw Me a Star, then students paint a gorgeous night sky. We then learn about coloring — carefully and BOLD. After the tiny artists color in their stars, they work their developing motor skills by cutting out and gluing them to the background. Always a big hit to paint, color, cut AND glue! Just remember: Dot, Dot, NOT A LOT!
SPACE SHAPE ROBOTS
Shapes are still everywhere -- but this time, in outer space. Students use texture plates to create robot "armor" from crayon rubbing, then strengthen their dexterity by cutting out individual shapes of their drawn robots and glue them to a black page. The project comes alive as students use oil pastels to decorate outer space with planets, stars, aliens, and fellow robot friends.
In the winter time we are surrounded by snow and chilly New England air so why not use our knowledge of shapes to make snow-people? First, we paint a gorgeous winter sky using tinted colors -- all about adding white. Next, we are faced with a challenge -- turning squares into circles for the snow body. Kindergarteners use their excellent scissor cutting skills to expertly cut away corners until a circle remains. Then it's time to become a problem solver and put shapes together to add details.
LINE DANCING WITH KANDINSKY
In this lesson, Kindergarteners study the abstract art of Wassily Kandinsky. Abstract art: Doesn’t look real, but it makes you feel! We have such a good time discovering the magic of feelings shown through line, shape and color within abstract pieces. Additionally, in our exploration of Kandinsky’s work, we learn the official names of many lines and then make them do a mighty dance across the page with oogles of shapes! With oil pastels, we first play a Roll and Draw game to inspire our line choice, then students add color to their shapes and “echo” lines around their first design. Time to paint! We discuss high and low contrast by chanting, “Does it POP?! Does it not? That’s contraaasst!!” The results are always unique and fabulous!
In this lesson, kindergarteners learn that artists can use more than just lines and shapes in their work--they can also use letters. Using only the letter Y, students use repetition to create colorful oil pastel trees (along with corresponding roots) and discover the magic of watercolor resist as they paint their backgrounds.
Spring is near and birds are chirping so it's back to the alphabet. Hmm? Kindergartners are familiar with many, if not all letters, as this lesson approaches, therefore we utilize the letters D - O - V and Y, to draw the invented body (or bodies) of a bird. Dubbed DOVY birds, these creatures sit on top of a colorful sky, which students learn has the potential to be so much more than blue.
When spring arrives the kindergarteners know that little buzzes will soon fill the air. In this lesson, students learn about insect body parts, use their bold and careful crayon coloring skills and then expertly paint their backgrounds with tempera cakes.
ERIC CARLE-INSPIRED SEASCAPE COLLAGE
As the last project of the year, summer was on our minds, so the Kindergarteners created an Eric Carle inspired seascape. In this lesson, students learned about how different brush strokes can create different textures on the page -- and the wonders of NOT washing your paint brush between dips to see multiple colors in one stroke. We first painted three different sheets -- one with smooth sky color, another with X-strokes for waves, and finally a stipple technique for the sand. Students then collaged their pieces together and finalized the work with a sailboat (or three) of their choosing.
OLDER LESSONS FROM 2016 - 2017
LINE DANCING WITH SHAPES - LEVEL I
A project inspired by Romero Britto's art work, this lesson allows students to get creative with color as they see how lines and shapes dance across the page. Beginning with a directed drawing of lines and shapes, students learn the five basic lines (straight, sideways, diagonal, zig-zag, curvy) and are then given free reign to draw any shape they like within each section. Kindergartners learn that while shapes are everywhere they don't always need to create an image we recognize.
Abstract art: It doesn't look real, but it makes me feel!
SHAPE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Kindergartners are learning that "shapes are everywhere!" So in this lesson, students design the neighborhood, house, or home they live in, or would like to live in--imaginative approaches are always encouraged--out of shapes they know. Additional details using various lines are to be added as the individual sees fit.