Exploring the World Through Art

By Kara Alverson & Jenna Wendlandt
Junior Kindergarten Teachers

Art studies starts in Early Childhood at Canterbury School.  And, boy does it have a rich history here! There are four main artist studies throughout the year that include a lot of school traditions at Canterbury.  These serve as foundational art skills for the next 13 years of education at Canterbury School.

Eric Carle
As an artist and illustrator Eric Carle’s bold and simple pictures inspire and excite young children. Our Junior Kindergarten students even recreate Eric Carle’s method by splattering paint at paper. It’s messy and exciting!  The children then cut out their pictures in pieces just the way he did. We practice cutting skills to improve fine motor skills. Students cross the mid-line to promote literacy skills. We also learn about warm and cool colors.

Georgia O’Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe is in the fall and is incorporated in our “America the Beautiful” unit. It includes four scenes of environments across America:  desert, mountains, forests, and prairie.  This has really made children aware of their surroundings. The geographical diversity of the United States. Horizon lines are addressed during this study, and we use watercolor, which is a different medium from Eric Carle.

Grandma Moses
Junior Kindergarten likes to slow things down during the holiday season focusing on more old-fashioned traditions. During this unit we study the artist Grandma Moses. She started at 70 years old!  Moses shows us that we can start new things at any age. She completes a study of the seasons, and we do too.   

Claude Monet
Junior Kindergarten’s spotlight on global perspectives takes us to France.  We introduce Claude Monet, an impressionist from France, who shows us the beauty of quick strokes. Things don’t have to look perfect!  Sometimes blurry is beautiful. The children create Claude Monet’s beautiful water lily scene with a Japanese bridge. We also complete large Monet-inspired scenes for all to see.

Alma Thomas and Louis Armstrong
New to our curriculum this year is a study of artist Alma Thomas.  The bright colors led the children to create beautiful mosaic-like art. We also studied the performance artist Louis Armstrong.  We discussed how his jazz music made us feel. The children painted to “What a Wonderful World” as the music moved us to create.

Overall, our foundational teachings of art in Junior Kindergarten supports interdisciplinary curriculum. Language arts, reading, mathematics, fine and gross motor skills are the beginning of the spiraling curriculum that makes Canterbury School so strong.