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Before planning my art (creative) activities I was aware of the stage of art development that the children were at. I was also aware of individual children’s needs and ensured that I planned for these. Over the placement I planned and taught many creative activities, but for this essay I will concentrate on two activities that I feel contributed to the advancement of the children’s learning.

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The topic for the half term was Hands and Feet and the art activity focussed on painting. As a whole class we read the book ‘Not Now, Bernard’, we discussed what happened and what type of footprints monsters may make. I then explained to the children that they were going to paint their own monster using different coloured powder paints and to help them I painted a monster and explained to them what my monster was like. The objectives for the lesson were, to practice painting skills, to use own ideas to create a painting and to use relevant language to describe their painting.

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The children were then called, three at a time, to the creative table to paint a picture of a monster. Some of the children were at the beginning of the Scribbling Stage and were only able to scribble with their brush. Other children who were further on in their art development and used the ‘grasp and push’ action were able to use lines to enclose a space and make shapes to represent parts on the monsters body which is a stepping stone moving towards the Early Learning Goal for exploring media and materials.

These children showed signs of using what Lewis (1966) called ‘mandalas’ or ‘magic circle’. These ‘mandalas’ are what children begin to draw at age three or four when they are growing out of free scribbling and are the first drawings of people. Mandalas are usually a circle with lines for body parts and marks for facial features. These children are moving towards the Pre-Schematic/ Symbolic stage of development in art.

One child who was able to control her paintbrush well and drew ‘mandalas’ copied my painting of a monster from memory. She remembered the shape and surprisingly she remembered the colours I had used. Another child had remembered what the monster looked like from the story ‘Not Now, Bernard’ and instead of using the primary colours that had been put out he mixed the colour purple independently from memory. Other children were very imaginative and painted very individual paintings. They were able to describe what their monster looked like as well as what type of monster it was, for example, scary, naughty, this describing meant that the activity involved another area of learning, Communication, Language and Literacy.

The activity went well and most children were able to meet the lesson objectives. All children were able to practice their painting skills, most children used their own ideas to create a painting of a monster whilst others painted monsters from memory, both of which help to develop children’s learning. Some children found describing their painting/monster difficult as they did not have the relevant language skills, but when asked questions about their paintings they were able to answer well. Individual targets were set but all the children need more opportunities to paint using their own imagination and ideas.

The way the activity was organised meant that the task could be introduced and explained to the children as a whole class. Then having three children at a time the activity could be controlled and supervised well, giving the children opportunity for one to one help and guidance if needed. Throughout the activity my role was to use effective teaching strategies to help the children progress in their learning. During the activity I used modelling skills, different forms of questioning, explaining strategies and I continually encouraged and praised the children.

The activity was extremely appropriate as it linked well to the topic for the half term, it had clear objectives which related well to the stepping stones and the early learning goals, the children were developing their art skills and confidence in the subject enhancing their education and most of all enjoying themselves whilst learning.

The second activity, again based on the topic of Hands and Feet looked at a different aspect of art, collages. For one week we looked at the story ‘The Elves and the Shoe Maker’ and looked at shoes for the week. The activities for the week had the theme of shoes. For this particular activity the children were able to choose and outline of a shoe pre-drawn, either a high heal or a trainer. They were then able to pick different squares of material and glue them on to their shoe (collage). The task was explained to the children as a whole class and then three children at a time were chosen to do the activity. The objectives for the lesson were to choose colours or materials, to describe how things felt, to use own ideas when placing materials and to practise gluing skills.

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Kylie Garcia

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