Developing an appreciation for art

Art and design in the world around us

Close observation of the world around them enriches children’s visual awareness and the vocabulary on which to draw for expression and design. Drawing attention to well-designed objects and buildings helps them to develop sensitivity to good design and the ability to form and design their world. Many types of design activities provide valuable experiences at all stages of primary schooling when they promote observation, invention, expression and creativity.

Children make design-related decisions when, for example, they:

  • Make decisions about the layout of their work
  • Enrich a surface with pattern and detail
  • Change a piece of fabric purposefully by removing from or adding to it, even in infant classes
  • Choose scraps of cloth or paper for a collage and make decisions about where to position them
  • Rework a sketch for use as a design in another medium, for example making changes to a drawing from nature for use as a print
  • Plan to make something to their own design: trying to visualise it; making sketches and plans for it; thinking about the materials they might use and how they might use them, for example a costume for use in drama, or a working three-dimensional model
  • Plan to make a functional object in clay, for example, and make decisions about how its functional demands might be met

It is in these contexts that design awareness has an important part to play in primary school art.