In the past few weeks I’ve seen a poster appear several times on Facebook that says “Earth without art is just eh.” I love that! I’ve also heard and read a lot about teachers saying that the pressures of the testing craze have caused them to cut back on art time (whether forced or by choice.)
But there is one school I know of that won’t buy into that (hopefully there are many more.)I spent my last six years of teaching at Baileys Elementary School in Fairfax County Virginia and that’s where I presently do my volunteering. Teachers there believe that art is fundamental to a child’s education and they refuse to give it up.
Baileys has a partnership with the Kennedy Center called Changing Education Through the Arts where teachers take courses on arts integration and have the option of working with an arts coach. You can’t walk through the hallways without noticing how art plays a role in all subject areas.
Kinder teachers use Horn and Giacobbe’s book, Talking, Drawing, Writing to help their students learn how to expand their drawings to add more details to their stories. And the many interactive writing murals include art made by the kids.
Many teachers study illustrations in picture books and discuss how the art adds to the mood/tone of the text. I’m fairly sure that every child could name a famous artist or two because they study so many each year and make visits to local art galleries. And check this picture out — even the picket fence around the butterfly garden is art!
Upper grade teachers have students write poems about works of art.
And take a look at the outside of the building. There are over thirty large murals that decorate the outside of the building, done in partnership with local artists over the past several years.