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Lower School Visual Arts Curriculum

Art in the Lower School begins in the Early Childhood Center where our Tiny Torreys to kindergarten students are immersed in art as part of the overall program in the classrooms. The formal program begins in Grade 1 where students learn concepts through the language of “artist tricks” that the program builds towards learning art vocabulary and skills in a spiral-type curriculum through Grade 4. Through a process-based program, students are empowered with the confidence to express original ideas with the abilities and techniques learned through a variety of 2-D and 3-D media. A “mistake” is always a new problem to solve!

Arts Curriculum

List of 4 items.

  • Grade 1

    Students coming to the Lower School Art Studio begin to learn skills and concepts in art by being introduced to the idea of “artist tricks.” Students excitedly talk about and use ideas like “the oval trick,” “the overlapping trick” and the “table trick.” Learning linear perspective in first grade may be introduced as the “field trick” and the “room trick,” though students do not identify the lines that go through the vanishing point as one-point perspective. They are not told how this works, but they are able to go through the steps to be able to begin to process the concept. Students also look at artist prints and then work to figure out the tricks or concepts used to make objects look real. The traditional Elements of Art & Principles of Design are woven into the curriculum as they apply to concepts, skills and techniques introduced. A wide variety of materials, both 2-D and 3-D, are introduced and used throughout the Lower School Art Program. Students are always encouraged to express individual ideas.
  • Grade 2

    Second grade students continue to develop their knowledge of concepts and are increasingly introduced to the correct vocabulary identified with artist tricks. More time is spent on learning to draw figures in action and learning how to draw animals and people in both real and cartoon form. Students also continue to experiment with a wide variety of materials and techniques.
  • Grade 3

    Students learn to draw objects from observation rather than from stereotype notions. They learn more about the principles of art, including rhythm and repetition, and learn how to creatively manipulate these notions towards the idea of abstraction and inspired visual effects. Students continue to build their knowledge of art vocabulary and artistic concepts.
  • Grade 4

    Students dig deep into “Art as Idea” and usually begin the year with a found-object sculpture. Whether the theme is animal, bird or an inanimate object, the goal is to have students assemble the essence of the subject matter using recyclable objects or objects not normally associated with artistic endeavors. Students learn that they also must problem-solve to come up with ways to attach materials so that the connections become part of the sculpture. Along the way, students are learning about sculpture from Renaissance as well as contemporary times. Fourth-grade students continue to hone their drawing abilities through techniques like contour drawing, and they learn more sophisticated ways of mixing paint to show a richer variety of colors.
Personal expression is promoted through all aspects of the school and at all levels. Students are encouraged to develop their own voices when thinking about ideas, as well as when expressing them through various media.
Development of skills and knowledge of techniques allow for more confident personal communication. Themes and concepts in the art studio are often connected to themes and concepts in the different curricular areas in the classroom.

Our young artists are part of a supportive and creative community. Artwork is exhibited both in classrooms and in various spaces throughout the school. We also exhibit the work of Lower School artists in our Community Hall during the time of the Grandparents Day celebrations in November and Lower School work is also displayed during the All School Art Show in the Community Hall in the spring.

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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