by Julie Uber, Art teacher for grades 1-6
When visitors come in the door at our school, one of the things they often comment favorably on is the wealth of artwork on display. The walls, hallways, stairwells, and tables are usually covered with examples of the children's creativity, whether it's dioramas about Native American homes or paintings of the glory of Easter morning.
Depending on the time of year, everything from Autumn centerpieces made from pinecones, cinnamon sticks, acorns, nutmeg and star anise to "Stained Glass" Nativity scenes of tissue paper can be found decorating the school. The art program is fun, and it is filled with introductions to many different artistic media.
Integrating the arts with the academic areas of study is one of our main emphases. When the children in grades 4-6 studied Greek culture, language, and mythology recently, for example, their art projects included illustrating myths and carving Grecian design motifs on clay vessels they made themselves. They also collaborated in the decoration of a classic Greek vase to be kept in their classroom forever.
Another focus in the PNCS art program is the reflection of religious and spiritual ideas. I look to the quote from Psalm 24, "The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness; the world, and those who dwell therein." We celebrate learning about the beauties of the world of nature, about the amazing cultures of mankind, and about our own abilities. We are all children of God, and in the New Church there is a strong emphasis on learning the stories of His Word. One wonderful way to do this is by creating artwork.
In my twenty plus years of teaching art, I have come to see all children as artists, and I enjoy helping them discover their inner creativity. It's especially rewarding to have former students come in to show me something they created in high school or college, or to visit in a home and see an art project from years ago proudly displayed!