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What does Arts in Education practice look like? Read about the processes and partnerships behind current projects happening around Ireland.


Learning About Learning


Full concentration (c) Helen Barry

Full concentration (c) Helen Barry

Context

Dominican Primary School (DPS) is a DEIS (Dep. of Education and Skills) co-educational primary school. The Junior Infants class consists of 18 students, 12 of those are learning English as an additional language (EAL). DEIS schools address and prioritize the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities. DPS is concerned with the education of the whole person. It aims to provide opportunities for each child to reach his or her full potential, by exposing them to a wide variety of opportunities that develops and develops their overall growth and self-esteem.
The artist Helen Barry is based in the school through DLRCC’s DLR Primary Arts that supports a long-term artist in residence programme of 24 contact hours over a 4to 5 month period. This has been extended through the Artist at Work residency programme in DLR Lexicon Library where the Helen is currently based. Within walking distance from the school and this offers a further 14 contact hours in the school and in DLR Lexicon’s Project Room.

Timeframe

The artist commenced in Dominican Primary School in November 2014 and will continue through until May or June 2015. We meet weekly mostly based in the school and some sessions are based in DLR Lexicon.

Our Vision

We learn by doing and we learn from each other. Using a child centred and child led approach to:

  • Exploring how children learn through the creative interplay of pedagogical tools used in the classroom and identifying and creating new ones.
  • Introducing children to an array of traditional and non-traditional art materials and techniques as they explore who they are and the world around them.
  • Channeling the energy, observations and ideas into creating a piece of work together.

Documenting

DLR Primary Arts supports the learning, observations and experience through a blog. The children, artist and teacher will all contribute to the blog. We will also invite others to record their observations of the process and impact it is having on the children, teacher\s and artist through the school principal, parents, teachers, and arts office and library staff. We are using a multi disciplinary approach and will be able to record the spoken word, written word, sounds and images and moving images.

The Teacher

As a class teacher working in a DEIS school I feel it is important to participate and work in partnership with others, in education in promoting social inclusion for the children I teach. DLR Primary Arts (creative practitioner project) and Artist At Work workshops with Helen are providing a wonderful and enriching experience for the children and for me as a teacher. Helen’s expertise and artistic insight as an artist has changed my own opinion on art education especially in the early years.

I feel it is important to highlight the large number of children learning English as an additional language in the class, which presents its own challenges for me as a teacher and brings its own frustrations to the children. The artistic process involved with each sessions allows children of all abilities and backgrounds to express their personal ideas, co-operate and communicate with their peers and adults and express their uniqueness in a positive learning environment. The sessions with Helen are providing a great means for communication for the children while reducing their frustrations of language and allowing their competance and confidence to grow.

Helen’s use of the aistear principles which guide her practise and sessions are very much child-centred and child led. Literacy, SPHE and mathematical language are integrated as well as the Visual Art strands.

The Children

would also like to share their own opinions and experiences working on the projects…

Me and Angeline made a castle”, Zhya 5yrs
I like the Lexicon library because we made things”, Holly 5yrs
The tubes are fun I made a bridge”, Amanda 5yrs
We do lots of cutting and making things”, Daivik 4yrs
I like collecting stuff and making things”, Alma 5yrs
Helen plays with us”, Brooke 4yrs

The Artist:

WE ARE

I observe
I listen
I watch
I am open
I am inspired
We talk
We plan
We ask
We make
We are challenged
We are patient
We are open
We explore
We build
We stick
We poke
We cry
We laugh
We reflect
They argue
We learn
We support
We are creative
We give
We work
We struggle
We are honest
They are brutally honest
I am exhausted
We are energetic
We get more help
We are synergetic
We are content
We are inspired
WE ARE.

Helen Barry 2015

‘We Are’ is a poem that best captures what happens throughout my collaborative practice and offers the basis for the language which best describes my methodology. My methodology and my approach to collaborative work with early years children is similar to that of Aistear: the early years curriculum framework. I have also done extensive reading of the curriculum focusing on the early cycle of the primary school. I believe that the teaching methodology and application in the classroom runs parallel to the work and process that happens in the artists’ studio.

I am learning about learning, how we learn and what we learn. I have started at the beginning and I am learning with the children, she is my teacher too. I listen to the children deciphering language through photonics. The lengthening of words like fly, cat, jump; elongated they create beautiful rhythms their tone is set by the hum of the children’s voice, each word held for a prolonged moment. This has become the impetus for a piece of work we are creating together in the school and DLR LexIcon.

Spotlight


Artist(s):

Helen Barry

Helen Barry is a visual artist who engages in a collaborative practice with early years children. Together they explore many of the themes and ideas Helen is working on in the studio through innovative and child centred workshops. In turn this offers her a level of honesty, challenges and stimuli that inspires her studio work whilst creating new and ambitious works with the children.
She is currently looking at how the ebb and flow of the collaborative process is similar to the rhythm and energy required in developing a piece of artwork in the studio from its inception through to creating the finished piece.
Helen has over 25 years experience working with children and adults through the arts and creative play. Her belief that creativity is essential for the pedagogical and emotional development of the child inspired her to develop a number of early years initiatives. Helen received a YPCA bursary from The Arts Council to support her work in 2013. Upcoming projects includes the development of an early years and family programme for dlr Lexicon’s upcoming show Matisse: Drawing With Scissors.

I See You, I Hear You(link)
Seilmide (link)
Practice.ie in 2014 (link)

Other recent residencies include the Muslim N.S. at the Islamic Centre in Clonskeagh and Artist At Work with dlr LexIcon with DLRCC arts office. (link)

www.helenbarry.com


Teacher(s):

Joanna McCallig

My name is Joanna McCallig and I'm a teacher in Dominican Primary School in Dun Laoghaire since 2005.

Dominican primary school is a co-educational primary school in south Co.Dublin. I have been teaching there for the past nine years. I'm currently teaching Junior Infants. I completed a Masters in Education in 2010. I have a particular interest in early childhood education.


Other:
(Curator, agency, etc):

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Arts Office

The Artists in Schools Programme was initiated in 1994 by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Arts Office. In 2008 the Arts Office partnered with Blackrock Education Centre on delivering the dlr Primary Arts Programme across the County. This programme is supported by the Arts Council.

The main purpose of the programme is to facilitate the collaboration of a professional Creative Practitioner (e.g. a Dance, a Visual Artist, a Musician or a Writer) with a primary school class and teacher to explore creativity in the classroom through various artforms.

Central to the programme are the professional development sessions with the participating teachers delivered in Blackrock Education Centre.

www.dlrprimaryarts.wordpress.com for further details.


Helen Barry

Artist(s)

Helen Barry

Joanna McCallig

Teacher(s)

Joanna McCallig


Artforms

Visual Arts

School Level

Primary

School/
Participant Group

Dominican Primary School


No. Participants

18


Region

Dublin County

Age/Class

4-6 years old / Junior Infants


Dates

November 2014 -


Weblinks


Leading Agency

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Arts Office


Key themes/ lines of enquiry

Exploring how children learn through the creative interplay of pedagogical tools used in the classroom and identifying and creating new ones.

Introducing children to an array of traditional and non-traditional art materials and techniques as they explore who they are and the world around them.

Channeling the energy, observations and ideas into creating a piece of work together


Curriculum Strands

Using an approach similar to Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework to explore creativity that link with many strands of the curriculum.


Research or relevant publications

Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (NCCA)



I believe that the teaching methodology and application in the classroom runs parallel to the work and process that happens in the artists’ studio. I am learning about learning, how we learn and what we learn.

Helen Barry, Artist

Very focused (c) Helen Barry

How to construct (c) Helen Barry

Cut & Drawing (c) Helen Barry

Drawing wall (c) Helen Barry

Sticking (c) Helen Barry

Measuring (c) Helen Barry




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