Focusing on Originality: Art and Writing at Studio
At Studio we believe that art is a natural and necessary form of human expression. In fact, The Studio School derives its name from the image of an artist working in his or her studio. We offer a carefully orchestrated sequential and incremental learning experience tailored to each child throughout the early childhood, elementary, and middle school years. Initially, young children are offered basic materials such as: clay, paint, crayons, chalk, string, fabric, paper, scissors, glue, tape, etc., presented in a non-judgmental and unstructured manner, without specific instructions on how to use them or what to do with them. Later on, as children grow, they work with more complex and subtle materials as part of their artistic expression.
Students continue to experiment throughout their preschool and elementary years at Studio; soon discovering a plethora of artistic preferences and styles, and eventually they begin empirically to forge their own artistic direction. When ready, they are encouraged to share all their ideas and begin to work on murals with others. In Middle School, students are introduced to formal art techniques as tools for further exploration of their talents, abilities, and future direction. They study Art History, individual artists and their works, and how to describe and identify artistic styles. By the time they graduate, students have a portfolio of a variety of work. Here for you to see is a sampling of our students’ work from Early Childhood through Middle School.
Writing involves being able to cogently express one’s thoughts and feelings to others, after one has imagined, synthesized, and organized them. In acquiring the skills necessary to become reflective, fluent writers, our students expand their perspective about themselves, others, and the world around them. At Studio, all aspects of a child’s emotional, intellectual, social, and creative development become part of the writing process. Students are taught to pull their ideas together, clarify their thoughts, organize their material, draw conclusions, make analytical judgments, and, most important, take pleasure in self-expression and sharing their work with others.
Our writing curriculum focuses on learning how to write in various genres, such as poetry (haiku, limericks, lyrical poems, etc.), and prose (short stories, essays, editorials, historical fiction, etc.), as well as in bringing written work to completion, either through publication, performance, or presentation. For example, every year for the past nine years, The Studio School has had finalists in the Annual Student Haiku contest sponsored by the Japanese Program and the English Department of the United Nations International School, in conjunction with the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations and the Northeast Council of Teachers of Japanese. This contest is open to students in elementary, middle, and high school throughout the tri-state area. In 2004 and 2006, we had second place winners in the elementary school category, and in 2008 we had both a 2nd place and a 3rd place winner in the elementary division. We have included for your reading enjoyment haiku written in the past two years by our finalists.
Another example of our writing program is The Studio School’s literary journal, titled Silhouettes, which is created annually by our graduating class. As they participate in the creation of this publication, our eight graders gain firsthand experience in producing a literary journal that represents all their best writing and art. Working as a team to publish Silhouettes, they learn that real accomplishment comes from the combination of collective effort and individual dedication. Here are some of our students’ essays and short stories that have appeared in Silhouettes over the past four years.