I have put together some thoughts on the practices I use when teaching art to elementary school students. If you would like to download my philosophy as a pdf file click here. What follows is just a small excerpt from that philosophy
"...the best learning happens when kids donʼt even know they are getting a lesson. The best learning happens when they are involved in something fun, engaging and challenging... an activity like making art.
If you want kids to learn by making art, you have to treat them like artists. They need to work with authentic art materials. In my elementary art program we draw, we paint, and we sculpt with clay. We do not make anything with paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, Pringleʼs cans or someone elseʼs recycled trash. We do not make art based on the holidays or seasons. In fact every time I get transferred to a new school, I fill up a dumpster or two with all the garbage left in the cabinets from the previous art teacher. Then I order liquid watercolor paints, tempera paints, a variety of quality paint brushes in different sizes, paper and 2000 pounds of clay, and just like that, Iʼm ready to teach art.
The materials I use in my elementary art program are the same types of materials that professional artists work with. We just donʼt create one clay project a year or one painting a year. Art skills donʼt grow that way. In order to become skilled at anything you have to have repeated exposure to it. Imagine trying to learn how to play the piano by only playing it once a year. That is what elementary art teachers do to kids when they jump from a glitter project to a crayon project to a toilet-paper-tube-Thanksgiving-napkin-holder project."