Visual Arts at The Newgrange School and the Laurel School of Princeton help students bring out their creativity as well as develop their personality. Children performing arts helps them think creatively, improves their mental and imagination skills.
The art program is designed around project-based work in a creative environment, giving the students chances to experience various innovative hands-on techniques. This involves the use of different types of artistic tools and mediums, such as graphite pencils, metallic watercolors, ink, colored pencils, acrylic paints, clay, wood, plastics, glass, and many others.
Technology transforms artistic learning strategies, and The Laurel School and The Newgrange School provide abundant resources including Mac computers, TV monitors, document cameras, iPads, Chromebooks, and SMART boards that take teaching art to the next level. Technology makes learning and research enjoyable in art. The creative process involved with our art projects, from the preliminary development of ideas to production is inspired through interactive visual exploration using Adobe Creative Suite, Google products, YouTube, PowerPoint presentations, and many other avenues. Discovering new ways to learn, such as our current virtual art class through Google Meet and Zoom, and promoting 21st-century skills have been very beneficial for developing creative thinking and communication in the art program.
Whether the students are working on a project with classmates, contributing their talents to other subjects, or bouncing ideas around with Ms. Eleanor, they are building meaningful connections that can continue beyond their years at Newgrange- Laurel School.
Integrating Visual Arts with Other Subjects
There are many possibilities with visual literacy that support learning. Art is a natural fit for narrative because artwork tells a story. Laurel students love art and books. In a recent collaboration with Ms. Maureen, her class presented the novel “When the Mountain Meets the Moon,” through the art of storytelling and puppetry. The students researched many different types of dragons, sketched and drew their own character design, and built 3D paper models of the dragons. This hands-on exercise connecting reading and art encouraged the students’ active imagination. It challenged them to translate their thoughts and feelings about the story and characters in the book into a form of visual art.
“The greatest scientists are artists as well,” said Albert Einstein. A great deal of creativity is required to make scientific breakthroughs, and art is just as often an expression of and a product of scientific knowledge. In a recent collaboration with Ms. Sheryl, an exploration into the field of medical illustration was accomplished via an art project in conjunction with her science lessons and experiments about the “Eye.” Students were keen to observe and associate their hands-on learning from the science lab and were comfortably able to replicate and represent a detailed, hand-painted illustration of the ‘Diagram of the Eye.’ Connecting art and science gave the students additional insight into their shared learning experience.
The art-based curriculum, which was implemented by Dr. McKay and Ms. Eleanor in 2018, provided several units featuring a sequence of lessons organized on a theme and includes learning activities, resource materials, and evaluation strategies. The upper school students demonstrated their strengths and capabilities of critical thinking, analytical thinking, and creative thinking through their collaborative efforts in writing, drawing, designing, painting, sculpting, video-taping, singing, and many other fun activities.
Laurel School participates in The New Jersey Future City Competition each year. To create flourishing cities of the future, Laurel students become scientists, engineers, architects, designers, and artists as they, with the guidance and support of Dr. McKay, address issues like public health and community building. Creating vibrant downtown districts, mixed-use spaces, human-powered and intermodal transit systems, and green spaces are all critical to this goal. The students worked extremely hard in the design and development of their small-scale city, using a wide array of materials such as cardboard, wood, lightbulbs, water, wires, glue, paints, and handmade pieces.
The aesthetics of a theater are often as important as the production taking place therein. Every year, Laurel School has produced beautiful plays, including “Beauty and the Beast” and “Annie Jr..” As set designers and prop artists in the stage art crew, Laurel students were innovative and original, with inspiration coming from almost anything or any place, and never stopped thinking about creative ways to help Ms. Hope and the entire musical production. They developed and expressed their artistic talents through their drawing, painting, cutting, gluing, prop-making and developed a strong sense of pride and team building as being part of the theatre.