I met Tina Ward, Manager of The Learning Resources Hub, Wiltshire Council last year and she invited The Arts Society to join in with her latest venture – A STEAM Day to provide an experience for headteachers, teachers, home educators and all the primary age children in West Wiltshire.
This Science, Technology, Engineering Arts and Maths (STEAM) Day demonstrated to the primary sector the opportunities and the potential of working across the curriculum, using the arts as a basis for creative learning. This was an exciting opportunity to demonstrate practically just how important the arts and especially drawing is in schools.
The Arts Society Wessex Area provided funding to help sponsor the event by paying for 50 books by author Caroline Barr called Endangered Animals which will be presented to various schools
We invited The Holburne Museum Educational Department, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Educational Department and Roche Court Educational Trust to have stands at the event. They provided lesson ideas suitable for cross-curriculum development. They also ran some practical sessions so that the students and teachers could try out a range of different activities.
The Arts Society Wessex Area also had a stand, maned by TASKL and TAS NW members, and we were able to make contact directly with the other organisations present as well as with teachers and headteachers. This meant, importantly, we could talk about who we are, what we do and how we could potentially provide funding for follow up activities.
In order to engage with the visiting primary school children, we provided sketchbook drawing activities based on Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings and studies. Models of the foetus, the brain, the ear and facsimiles of Leonardo’s sketchbooks inspired lots of children to spend time drawing even though there were many other exciting things to explore. They also went off to draw the Dalek who was “exterminating” up and down the aisles. We were demonstrating that Leonardo was able to cover a huge range of interests from architecture, military engineering, anatomy, post-mortems, theatre, geometry, nature, canals, battles, flight and drawing and painting. Certainly, the Renaissance man and a model worth following.
We met Council Members, local politicians and parents and were able chat with them, stressing the importance of arts education and creativity. Even the person from Extinction Rebellion who were protesting agreed that creativity was vital!
We had a fantastic day with over 480 students and teachers from 30 schools participating and they went back to school with their sketchbooks and a real buzz about all the possibilities that lies ahead of them.