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Growth Public Schools: Developing Brave, Creative Humans through In-School Art

in-school art

At Growth Public School, we stand behind our belief that regular, high quality art instruction is a critical component of a well-rounded education. Thanks to an art curriculum designed specifically for the Growth Public School community, all students receive weekly instruction from a full-time art instructor who encourages students to rush into the process of discovering their creativity with both feet and their whole heart.

In this post, we’ll explore:

  • The Vision Behind the Growth Public School Art Program

  • Growth Public School Art: How the Program Works

  • Art and Wellness: Fostering Emotional Safety, Creative Expression in the Classroom

The Vision Behind the Growth Public School Art Program

Meet Brittany Wright. Ms. Brittany has been the Growth Public School art teacher since 2020. And she has a passion for teaching art that is contagious. “There is a ‘traditional’ way to teach art. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach that focuses on seven key elements: color, line, shape, form, space, texture and value. Here at Growth Public School, we do things differently. Here, our main focus is on the attitude kids have about art. We want them to rush into the process of creating art with both feet. It’s great if they can name the elements, but what I really want is for our students to leave Growth Public School with a love of art that is empowering and extends into their daily lives. My philosophy is twofold: that we make art and that we are brave, creative people. If we can do those two things, at the end of the day we’re doing it right.”

“One of the reasons I love my job so much,” Ms. Brittany continues, “is that I know the work I do is important. Nothing about it is frivolous. Someone once asked a painter, ‘Why do you paint?’ And he responded, because it turns my brain off.’ In this loud, busy society, turning your brain off is something we all desperately want, both as adults and little kids. There are lots of ways to turn your brain off, many of which are unhealthy. So if we can teach our kids to let their body rest and reset using a healthy outlet like art, that is just as important for coping with life, accessing who they are, and learning what’s important to them, as any other academic skill set.”

“The other important thing about my work is that while the other academic subjects are about the HOW, the arts are all about the WHY. And we all need that.”

Growth Public School Art: How the Program Works

There is a dedicated art room at the school, with plenty of space for students to spread out, get messy and go deep with their creative projects. The art room is an even playing field. “Kids who may struggle with other subjects in their home room can come in and enjoy immediate success with art. Particularly the kids who struggle with math and reading come into my art class and are given the gift of a blank slate. So many of the things they struggle with the rest of the day are washed away. I have almost no behavioral issues, and I attribute that in part to the fact that the kids are invited to be freely creative in my classes. They come in and are laser-focused on making art, which is a totally natural thing.”

Ms. Brittany has spent the last three years refining her approach to teaching art in this community. Many of the projects are inspired by upcycling (also known as creative reuse), the process of transforming unwanted products around the house into new products (like your child’s precious artwork). “What I really want is for the kids whose parents don’t go to Michael’s to be able to express themselves. We use a lot of things that are upcycled so we can learn to be inspired by the materials. If you’re inspired by the things around you, it makes creativity a lot more accessible. Art is a tool for self expression and understanding the world around you. So if we can take the time to learn to appreciate the fact that when other people are engaging in art, they are expressing something essential within themselves, then we can understand them much better as humans.

The lower grades generally get instruction twice a week for 45 minutes, and during the 2023-24 school year, the upper grades will have the option to choose one of two smaller classes: art and commerce, or literary magazine.

Art and Wellness: Fostering Emotional Safety, Creative Expression in the Classroom

At Growth Public School, the emotional well-being of students and their families is a high priority. And the art classroom is a natural extension of this value. Students are always encouraged to use the process of making art to access their emotions and express what’s on their heart and mind. According to Ms. Brittany, “Last year the mother of a Growth Public School student was sick. The family was going through a lot. While it was hard for the boy to express his feelings in words, they always came out in the art. He was able to express visually what was on his heart. The act of telling me about his art would help him process his feelings. The fact that he was able to express his feelings surrounded by a community of classmates had a positive impact on everyone because it reminded the other students that it is OK to struggle without having to feel judged.”

“I also have a piece of artwork by one of our students that I always keep in sight. It’s very scribbly and angry. And it’s one of my favorite pieces because it was created by one of my students who was having a hard time. I remember him putting all of his big emotions onto the page, and I feel that every time I look at it. And I am grateful that here at Growth Public School we have regular art as an outlet for our students who may come in with big feelings and need support finding healthy ways to process them.”

Enroll your child at Growth Public School today.

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