Inside the Classroom: K – 1 Art

Creativity is flourishing in the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood under the guidance of longtime art teacher Arlene Merritt. The best part about art is that it is open-ended and unstructured, Merritt said. The focus is on the creative process rather than the end result, which gives children the freedom to explore and experiment with art materials. Here are some recent art projects students worked on.

Picture frame
What can you do with an empty picture frame? This was the question posed to students who were asked to fill a frame with an array of natural materials in different textures, shapes and even smells. Students also created patterns from colorful glass. “We encourage and design for collaboration in most of our art explorations,” Merritt said.

Hala tree mural
An overhead projector was used to cast a large image of a hala tree onto a wall, which students outlined with strips of black contact paper. They learned about contouring (or outlining) and about the historical significance of Punahou’s school tree. “They also learned perseverance and about sharing ideas and strategies,” Merritt said.

Ulu exploration
Students studied the ulu trees in the Omidyar Neighborhood and captured their lines and textures through drawing, by doing a leaf rubbing, and creating a stamp from the fruit. The students also enjoyed giving gratitude to the trees in the form of a hug. “The kids thought hugging a tree was really funny but they soon loved the idea,” Merritt said. “In these COVID times, hugs are scarce, but not when it comes to hugging a tree!”

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