Developing an appreciation for art

Viewing art

It is important that children are enabled to make connections between the work of artists and their own work. The Internet (see websites list) is a wonderful resource to support the arts curriculum as the work samples of any artist is no more than a click away. Use a data projector to project a large image onto the wall for the whole class to engage with and respond to. They should be encouraged to discover and talk about variety in visual expression from different times and cultures, its role in those cultures and how it differs perhaps from todays. As they progress they should also have opportunities to analyse and discuss the visual images that have such a strong influence on their ways of seeing the world, for example images projected by television, posters, advertising, magazines and street fashion. This would be helpful in developing a feeling for graphics and design.

It is important that children are introduced to a wide range of craft processes to help develop sensitivity to and appreciation of beauty, good taste and good workmanship. As well as being intensely enjoyable, experiences in looking at and handling well-designed craft objects help to develop discrimination and a critical faculty. Children should also become familiar with traditional Irish crafts, especially with living local crafts: visits to local or regional craft workshops could well be among their most memorable learning experiences. Experimental ways of working with craft materials should be explored.

Design has a very important role to play in the primary curriculum, and can be defined as active planning, inventing, making and relating parts to a whole in either two- or three-dimensional media. It is not an isolated discipline but underlies every art and craft activity, whether the end in view is expressive communication or the creation of a useful object.