If you are new to visiting galleries, museums and cultural venues with a school group, the following tips may be useful for you.
Organising any off-site activity takes time and careful planning. Make sure that you make the most of your Children’s Art Week visit so that it works hard for you and adds real value to learning back in the classroom.
- Know what you can do and see when you get there – visit the website or contact the venue and find out what will be on display when you visit, and what activities and materials might be available for you and your pupils.
- Look for links to your curriculum. Can you connect your visit to a theme or topic that you will be working on? Is there an area of your curriculum or a group of learners that needs more support or stimulation? Perhaps you are looking for exciting starting points for writing for example? Think ahead about the difference your visit can make to particular areas of learning.
- What else is available in the nearby area that you could link to your visit? Could you build in a learning walk to observe and record things in the local area?
- Prepare the children before the visit – what do they know already? Have they been before? What did they see? Ask them to imagine what they might see and find out during their visit.
- Have a focus and tasks for the children to follow. It might be as simple as ‘find your favourite thing and your least favourite thing to tell us about’. There are lots of good ideas on the Children’s Art Week Activity cards.
- Take the chance to do some drawing. Slowing down to look and record what your pupils see is a great way to focus thinking and observing. Take a zip folder with some basic materials – paper, pencils, fineliners and a digital camera. You don’t need expensive sketchbooks, a pencil and paper are all you need. Find ideas of how to make a looking journal here.
Arts Education Specialist
Children’s Art Week is run by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, and supported in 2019 by the Arts Society and The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.