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Active Art: Understanding and Enjoying Art in the Classroom and Beyond
Start date: 04 Jul 2016, End date: 03 Jul 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

As part of our school self evaluation plan and discussion, the subject of Art was highlighted by many staff members as an area that we would like to improve on. We are also currently reforming and implementing our school policy on visual art. Many teachers expressed their own desire to participate in a course that would not only improve their own art competencies but also provide our pupils with an enriched experience of international art and culture. When we discovered the course entitled “Active Art: Understanding and Enjoying Art in the Classroom and Beyond” with EUROPASS, many teachers expressed a strong interest. This course encompasses a multidisciplinary approach to art and art psychology, introducing participants to different ways of understanding and teaching arts as well as supporting students' creative process and taking the best of the positive impact of art-related activities on our wellbeing. Teachers have identified an increased level of anxiety in many of our pupils. This course focuses on a combination of creative, cognitive and emotional elements to make the learning process more accessible and gives children the skills to maintain their attention and motivation throughout the creative process.Our school plan is for ten teachers to participate in this course. These ten teachers will have the opportunity to learn new methodologies, experience Italian culture and share this experience with our pupils. This course will also allow us to discover the positive impact of art related activities on our emotional well being and help engage our pupils in the psychology of art and its therapeutic qualities.Our objectives of this project include the following:1. Developing our own knowledge, competence and confidence in Visual Art.2. Meeting the emotional needs of our pupils by developing an outlet through art for aggression, depression and negative feelings.3. Learning new methodologies to allow us to effectively combine art theory and practice in a productive way.4. Investigating the positive impact of art-related activities on the children’s mental health and wellbeing.5. Using art as a tool to enrich the children's vocabulary, oral language skills, self-esteem and confidence.6. Enabling the children of our school and their parents to engage in a shared experience by developing a whole school project on the theme of Italian art, life and culture. We plan to purchase and use Italian artefacts as part of our whole school project. We also plan to utilise funding for art materials and transport costs to sites of artistic interest.7. Improving parental involvement in art related activities such as class based workshops and gallery visits which will promote a positive parental attitude towards education and combat the problem of early school leaving.8. Motivating the children in our care to gain enjoyment from learning so that they can achieve their full potential for social, creative and individual growth.As a result of this project, we would envisage our whole school taking part in an art project inspired by Italian art, history and culture. We envisage a very positive impact as a result of our whole school art project and the new methodologies discovered by our teachers from attending this course. In the long term, our focus on improving our visual art programme will allow opportunities for the development of a richer vocabulary of our pupils, through more meaningful and creative art lessons where we can create a space for the pupils to express themselves more fully and develop the ability to articulate how their own art and the art of others connects with their own emotions and feelings. We will strengthen links and increase parental engagement by inviting parents to partake in workshops and be very much involved in the creative process and art project that we as a whole school will work on together. In the long term, we envisage the strengthening of the links between the school and the wider community which will ultimately be a valuable tool in combating early school leaving.
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