Overview of the visual arts curriculum

Working in clay

Clay is a versatile medium for free imaginative expression. Children begin to understand its inherent possibilities for three-dimensional expression as they model with it and change it. The plastic, malleable nature of clay makes it an ideal medium for learning about form. Every child should have opportunities to see and if possible to handle or touch craft pottery and sculpture. Developing sensitivity to underlying form in the environment and in art works enables them to enjoy and appreciate great sculpture and to appreciate craft objects critically.

Children enjoy the freedom to form and change clay and to use it imaginatively. Through experience of clay and from a need for expression, they learn the skills of forming and changing it in increasingly purposeful ways. As well as sculptural expression, they have opportunities to design and make objects for use and wear (the latter to a limited extent in the absence of a kiln), using their powers of invention and expression.

Papier mache is also an accessible medium for expressing ideas in three - dimensional form. It complements work in clay and is an additional way of exploring form, particularly useful on a large scale.