Hello everyone! I learned a ton about the educational prospects of visual art so let’s get into it.
Over these two weeks at BASIS the fourth and second graders worked on Van Gogh paintings, recreating his Starry Night. They were really calm during the art-making process and very reflective as they talked through each step they were taking in their work. Both the second and fourth graders were also super independent, getting what they needed on their own and not asking for help. They were also very focused on their creativity and utilizing the different mediums. It was wonderful to see how they learned over the year to manipulate their different mediums. The second graders did a read-aloud on Van Gogh which taught me about the educational prospects of art making. His life was tragic and dark, which gave the students a place to open up conversations about difficult things like suicide and depression. Obviously, you don’t talk to young children about these things in the same manner you talk to adults, but nonetheless, they are still curious and have heard things, and it’s important to make sure they don’t have glamorized or inaccurate views of mental health issues. Whenever they would ask a question and say something misguided or inaccurate we would simply tell them the truth in terms they could understand and that were appropriate. Being proactive like this works to build trust in the adults around you and aids in preventing students from developing negative views about mental health issues and suicide. The conversation about his life led to a discussion where they talked about how they can manage feelings of sadness and manage their emotions so they don’t become extreme- like in Van Gogh’s case. The students shared what helps them feel better, ranging from going to their parents to drawing alone in their rooms. It was amazing to see such an honest and important conversation happen in the classroom. I wish when I was that age that I had a space to ask my questions about “adult topics” without feeling shame. Giving the kids that space hopefully means that when they have other questions they can ask an adult who can tell them an appropriate answer versus going on the internet and being met with inappropriate or heavy content.
I found this week to be eye-opening and exciting from a conversational perspective. I am working on my deliverable so stay tuned for updates on that!