Our Ethos

At the Little Art School we put nurturing and confidence building at the heart of our classes. The course has been designed to build self-esteem in children and the environment our classes are held in have an ambience of calm and gentleness which helps the children to relax and encourages their creativity.

As children get older they begin to be more self-critical and much more self-conscious. At the Little Art School we have only one rule: we don’t allow children to be highly critical of their work, there are no “Mine’s Rubbish!!” uttered in the class.

At the end of each class every child is encouraged to point out which part of their painting or drawing they are particularly pleased with. At the start of their time with us some of the older children find this quite difficult, preferring to avoid ridicule by denigrating their work.

However, as the weeks go by, they understand that this is an environment where the ability to look for the positive is actively encouraged. They become much more able to search for what they like in their work and they begin to see the painting in a different, infinitely more positive, way.

By searching for the positive aspects of their art their perception of the work transforms. We also encourage the children to praise the work of their classmates. For older children this can be difficult at first, the need to look ‘cool’ at the latter end of the time a primary school only intensifies in secondary school.

However, within two or three weeks, with gentle encouragement and a positive example, our pupils demonstrate a kindness to each other which is actively fostered. With the encouragement and positivity of the teacher backed up by their encouragement of each other and their ability to look at their own work with joy we have seen such a boost in confidence in our pupils. It is what makes the Little Art School such a special place.

Learning to draw and paint is just like learning a musical instrument: you learn the basic techniques and then practise and build your skills. Our course at the Little Art School introduces new techniques in a progressive way; constantly building skills and developing techniques.

Our Founders 

The Little Art School, with its Children’s Art Studios, Online Course and Trading organisation and two charities, has been developed over the past decade by a partnership of two women: Joanne Robinson and Melissa Haddow. This partnership, pulling together very different skill sets, has worked to develop an organisation that uses art as a positive force in their community.

Joanne Robinson

Founding Partner


Joanne’s motivation behind the creation the Little Art School Drawing and Painting Course is very simple ‘it is the course I wish I had followed when I was learning to draw and paint!’ Like many people, Joanne grew up thinking that the ability to draw and paint was an inherited skill, it was only in her thirties that she discovered that drawing and painting can be a learned skill and that ANYONE can do it.

You can read more about Joanne’s journey as an artist in our blog – Can Anyone Learn to Draw & Paint. 

Over the last decade hundreds of children and adults have learnt to draw and paint the Little Art School way, following The Little Art School’s structured course.

Melissa Haddow

Managing Partner


Melissa’s 20 years of business experience in the corporate world gave her the skills and knowledge to transform Joanne’s idea of a structured art course into a thriving business with a values-driven team. Melissa manages every arm of the business and leads both charities as they contribute to the community. Named by the Association of Scottish Businesswomen as a ‘Women of Inspiration’ Melissa is leading the Little Art School team as we expand our reach, teaching people how to draw and paint and building self-esteem.

Our Team

The Little Art School Company Ltd is blazing a trail advocating the benefits of flexible working opportunities for women. We believe that many women decide to take a career break after beginning their family, determined that for a few short years of their life they wish to focus on nurturing their young children.

As those babies become toddlers and then young schoolchildren it becomes harder and harder for so many talented and highly skilled women to return to the workplace.

Skills feel rusty, digital technology has advanced at a rapid rate and whilst they have been immersed in laundry and nappy changing, former male colleagues have advanced up the career ladder in their absence.

The Little Art School Company believes that there is an enormous untapped resource of highly skilled women struggling to find a place where they can return to the workforce, due to the dearth of flexible working opportunities for women.

We are building a company where it is taken for granted that team members will need to go into school for special events; plays, sports days, open afternoons and assemblies to name a few.

As a company we recognise that employees might need to work from home occasionally whilst a sick child is on the sofa with Calpol and C Beebies. In return the Little Art School Company is more than compensated for its flexibility having a team of skilled women with dedication and imagination. All staff are Disclosure Scotland Checked. 

Contact Us

To find out more about learning to Draw & Paint the Little Art School way.

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp