Creating Art-pportunities for Kent Primary Students

For an eager group of Grade 4 students at Kent Primary, a recent recess period transported them to a serene beach in time for a beautiful sunset and they still managed to be back before the end of the school day. How did the students get there? Through their art.

Students gather around table to watch teacher paint

Recently, Art Teacher Sarah Bell began offering her Grade 4 students the opportunity to come to her classroom during their recess period to work on additional art projects. Bell realized that on certain days each week her afternoon prep period aligned with the Grade 4 recess schedule – a perfect window of time for additional art enrichment.

“The opportunity is for the students that really like and value art, and want to spend more time doing it,” said Bell. “This gives the students who really want to focus on their art at least some quieter time away from their class to work on additional projects.”

The optional art enrichment time is only offered for Grade 4 students at this time and students can sign up to attend as a class. In order to be equitable, each class in the grade is offered art enrichment days on a rotating basis.

“Part of my offering this is because there is so much that they didn’t get to do last year,” said Bell.

Last year, as third-graders, the students would have received double art periods, but the alternating-day schedule created by the COVID-19 reopening plan altered that. Bell wanted to find a way to make up for that missed experience.

“Everything that they missed I want to give back to them with a little more time,” she said.

The projects being offered are those that the students would normally have had a chance to complete in a planned art curriculum but did not get the chance to do. The first project: a painted beach sunset.

“My favorite part has been painting the background because it’s a sunset and I love sunsets,” said student Eva Patel as she put the finishing touches on the flying birds in her scene.

For student Cooper Jarrett, the decision to forgo the traditional recess to come work on extra art projects was an easy one: “I really like painting more than playing.”

For Bell, she plans to continue enriching students with art, one recess at a time, and has plans to offer a second project once all the classes have a chance to complete the beach sunset scene.

“The demand is so high that I will probably be using my prep period for the rest of the school year,” she said. “I just figured that there needed to be more art-pportunities for these students.”