At this time of year, I am always envious of my colleagues working in schools because of the long summer holidays they enjoy. However, in reality I realise that throughout the year teachers invest a lot of additional time planning lessons and working out creative ways to help children enjoy learning.
At the Walker Art Gallery this month we have an exhibition of work by 16 schools. It is well worth a look if you are a teacher looking for new ideas to use in the classroom, or if you are curious to see artworks from the next generation of ‘Picassos’ and ‘Monets’.
Each class has taken inspiration from a pre-determined picture in the Walker’s collection. The 'Take One Picture' scheme is part of an annual collaboration with Edge Hill University and the National Gallery, London. Through a placement at the gallery, teachers develop the skills to use a painting as a basis for a cross- curricular project. Later in the year, they return to the gallery with their class and do follow-up activities at school. We run an evening event where the teachers can share their learning and the work their classes have produced. Finally, a showcase of the work produced by the children goes on display in the gallery, for everyone to enjoy. This is a great opportunity for both the children and the trainee teachers – not many people get a chance to have work on display in a national gallery!
The amazing thing about the work that the children produce is just how different each classes approach can be. From a shared starting point, like this year’s choice of 'Springtime in Eskdale' by James McIntosh Patrick and Waterhouse's Echo & Narcissus, you get incredible variety of subject areas covered. Some use the art work to inspire creative writing, poetry or music while others focus on science and geography. A child being taught by a trainee teacher on this years’ scheme actually visited Eskdalemuir in Scotland to bring back photos for her class to use in the display, such was her enthusiasm!
If you are a teacher and would like to find out more about our galleries and museums, or how you can use our collections as a springboard for creative learning, please call us on 0151 478 4788. You can also visit the Education pages of the website, where you can browse a database of free learning sessions and resources.
'Take One Picture' is on display at the Walker Art Gallery from 3 August until 22 September.