School’s learners down the wishing well

October 18, 2021 BY

Collaboration: Visual art teacher Kellie Maddaford assists Zahra and Duke with their creative process. Photos: SUPPLIED

MOUNT Pleasant Primary School has received a Creative Learning Partnerships grant to collaborate with artist Mairin Briody.

Visual art teacher Kellie Maddaford said Briody’s work, which has featured wind turbines, gelled with the school’s term four inquiry units which ask the students to think about their impact, so she got in touch with her.

We came up with the concept, wishing well; the title of the project,” Ms Maddaford said.

Within the CLP, students will explore colour, form, communicating their emotions, and how their actions travel and have an impact; much like a pebble dropping into a wishing well, and creating ripples outward.

“Each student involved will create their own wishing well to start with, and each session we do, we’ll place coloured stones in the water, see what happens, capture that, and learn about colour theory,” Ms Maddaford said.

“Inquiry and the creative process can really help students to understand big concepts, the world we’re in, and process them in a completely different way.

“Painting is a really great avenue for kids to decompress and explore.”

Ms Maddaford and Briody will work with students one day a week to develop a co-constructed mural as they go, drawing ideas for the children’s “explorations.”

Mairin Briody’s artistic style, as seen in her work Portal, has inspired the wishing well concept.

“Mairin is a painter, and we’re really interested in putting a mural outside at the bottom of the school, by the road.

“The idea is that it’s a connection with the community. If kids are involved in it, when they leave the school and walk past, they can think, ‘I was involved with that,’ and keep a connection to the school beyond their time here,” Ms Maddaford said.

Briody will also help teachers across the school to bring the creative process into their classroom, whatever their teaching and learning intention.

“I’m interested in process. In devising this program, it’s becoming more and more about the process of artmaking by which people can digest the world,” Briody said.

“It’s about demystifying art as this siloed discipline, and trying to make it far less scary. People are sometimes scared of art, talking about it and making it, but it’s as natural and as essential as digesting food.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen. Kellie and I will be working with the kids to encourage them to be confident in whatever they enjoy doing, similarly with the teachers, just to have confidence in their own instincts.”

Principal Kate Robinson said visual arts are a big focus at Mount Pleasant Primary School as a through-line to learning and development.

“We really do value being able to work collaboratively with students, and an artist, without focusing on an outcome. Kellie has even run art intensives,” she said.

“It’s about the process of making art and how beneficial that is for children, especially at the moment, given what we’re going through collectively as a community.

“It’s a way for children to express feelings and emotions, to learn to collaborate and cooperate.”

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