Inspiring the next generation

Petronella M van Leusden discusses how she encourages her Prep students to explore the visual world and shares some of the fruits of their work. She was trained as a teacher in the Netherlands at the RK Pedagogishe Academie Mariahoeve in The Hague and has a Bachelor of Education at QUT in  Brisbane Australia. She also trained in Montessori and Steiner education. Her passion for art and teaching is limitless, and the joy of sharing her knowledge with her students is contagious.

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During the day I work as a Prep teacher. Art lessons are part of my practice and the many beautiful works made by 5 year old students show that everyone is capable to make art. Here is some art made by students over the years. This work is a combination of drawing flowers from life on coloured paper, colouring in and drawing using pencil and oil crayons and pastel, collage of cut patty pans, beads, mirrors.

So why did these flowers turn out so fantastic:

  1. Know your materials and what to teach your students about them.
  2. Know what art elements you want the students to consider.
  3. Break the lesson down in manageable chunks.
    The first lesson was all about looking at freshly picked real flowers and sketching these.
    The second lesson was about how light plays on a vase making one side more colourful and the other light thereby making us see a three dimensional shape (and the table cloth). In this case the students had worked earlier in the year with charcoal and pastel to know how to work from thick to thin application using a finger to smudge or not to smudge.
    The third lesson was about the composition of the flowers: how flowers in a bouquet are in front of each other and overlapping by using three dimensional patty pans placing them in the empty spaces. Little details of mirrors and beads in the already drawn flowers pulled it all together.
  4. Do the activity yourself first so you know all the problems the students will encounter so you can teach them about it. That way I discovered also that the work looked so much better if you worked on a coloured paper and how it was important to teach the students about using contrasting pastels to the paper.