Our First Classes
This led us to our 4-week trial at Braehead. The trial took place in January 2019 as an after-school activity. Initially 10 children took part – half from Braehead Primary and half from Newton Primary, Newton having arranged transport for the pupils to attend.
The children ranged from P2-P5, which had a positive result in the classes as the older students encouraged the younger ones by helping them and positively commenting on their artwork – helping to build their self-esteem; the key at the heart of everything we do.
The trial was completed with 3 Little Art School team members – 1 teacher, 1 assistant and a member of the project’s operational team.
Initially, it was decided that we would evaluate the trial with a simple yes/no questionnaire used in week 1 and week 4. However, by the end of the 4-week period it had become clear that the comments being made by the students about their own work, their fellow students work and the materials and classes themselves was giving us a much stronger evaluation of how much the children were enjoying the classes and how their confidence and self-esteem were growing, even over such a short period of time.
Achieving our objectives
Initially, the students were apprehensive and were very negative about their own ability to draw the artwork they were presented with. Even over the short period of the 4-week trial, our structure and teaching methods, built around ‘breaking it down and building it up’ , quickly resulted in a change in the class demeanour and the students, as early as week 2 in the trial, were using their warm up paper to practice the first shapes before the class had even properly started.
The Little Art School syllabus focuses on a range of materials, and where initially they were daunted by ‘gouache’ and ‘washes’ again they quickly developed a confidence to work and experiment with all the mediums. By the end of the trial, the students were comfortable and the lessons were running smoothly, the students were even confident enough to start adding their own creative ideas to their pictures.
“I couldn’t have done this if I hadn’t of been here”
“I am going to hug my picture all day”
“My drawing is amazing”
“I tried to make the mouth of the shark look effective by putting an extra black line there”
In addition, the children’s motor skills greatly improved over the course of the trial. They came to understand the importance of holding their pencil correctly, allowing them to draw loosely is not only more relaxing but a much easier way to put marks on their page.
“It feels nice when I hold my pencil properly”
“It works better”
Our First Art Exhibition
After the success of the trial and the positivity expressed by the school staff involved, we decided to finish the trial period with a family session to encourage parents/carers/family to attend and, encouraged the students to teach them a lesson and also for the parents to peruse the student’s artwork produced over the four weeks.
The children’s confidence had grown so much over the time that they relished teaching their family members how to build a drawing up using what they had learned and then painting with watercolour pencils.
It was a brilliant afternoon and the feedback from the parents really solidified the success of the sessions.
Newspaper coverage of Exhibition –
Newton and Braehead Primary schools have just completed an innovative 4-week pilot project with the Little Art School Trust, supported by the Kris Boyd Charity. The Little Art School Scholarship Programme enables children to benefit from the Little Art Schools Unique Drawing & Painting Course. This course has been designed to increase self-esteem in children by teaching them how to draw and paint. The Newton and Braehead pilot project has been a huge success, with its young participants marking it ‘100 out of 100’!
Over the last four weeks the children have worked in a variety of painting media, creating magnificent paintings of sea creatures. The Little Art School team were bowled over by the amazing skills of Braehead and Newton’s young artists. The pilot has been such a huge success that it is being rolled out for the next two terms with participants numbers doubled. This wonderful project is supported by the Kris Boyd Charity, which has just celebrated its first anniversary. The aim of the project is very simple; to help children to build their self-confidence and to reinforce how special each individual is.
Michelle Kelly, the Project Leader, is delighted with the success; ‘We had high expectations, we knew it would work but actually the pilot project exceeded all expectations. We know that our course and the way we teach it really helps to build self-confidence and self-esteem in children, helping them to recognise their unique abilities. We teach them that its fine to make mistakes, actually more than fine because that’s how they learn and improve their drawing and painting. In 4 weeks, we saw children go from no confidence to sitting back and telling the whole class what they loved about their painting. It’s magic.’ Everyone involved in this project is thrilled with the success of the pilot and very much looking forward to seeing the children who are benefiting from these very special art classes grow in confidence over the next few months.
“Her confidence has come on leaps and bounds since starting The Little Art School”
“He has embraced the art classes and also drawn at home more”
“She has loved being part of the class. She has learned so much about how to draw and her confidence has grown heaps”
“He has found the class to be great fun and very informative”
“She has had a great time at the Little Art School. She likes to draw with her big sister now”
Moving the programme forward
We moved on to delivering two lessons a week, one in each school, with a new lunchtime slot. This enabled us to offer classes to ten pupils at each school in familiar surroundings. The programme commenced in both schools February 2019.
How we adapted through COVID
Of course lockdown had an impact on our Little Art Stars classes. Even when the schools returned in the Autumn, ongoing restrictions around school access meant we couldn’t re-start our physical classes in our current partnering schools. With no end to the situation in sight we decided to embrace the technology available to us.
One of our partnering schools very kindly agreed to take part in trials for our Little Art Stars virtual format.
Although these classes have limitations, the students all needed to be supplied with individual materials, so we had to reduce the range of materials and subsequently the lessons, working solely in watercolour pencils.
We also had to reduce the number of students per class and most importantly, the format wouldn’t work with members of the school team being our hands on, in the room support.
However, the pupils who took part in the trial classes were absolutly fantastic and reminded us how resilient children really are. We were delighted to be able to engage with some students we have worked with before and see some new faces.
Working with our trial school we have tailored a format that has been successful in letting us continue to support pupils even when we cant be in class with them. While access continues to be an issue we are hoping to extend our Virtual Class programme in 2021.