Giving, kindness, generosity. These are words that are familiar with the recent season of Thanksgiving. Weaving these concepts into the curriculum and life at a school can be a challenge. That is where Weathersfield School has done an amazing job helping their students. Starting with a Kindness Club that meets weekly to including the community in so many different functions that the school provides. This school theme spilled over into the art room as well. Kindness. The challenge of giving of oneself to others. Art class took on this challenge in a unique way to include residents of the community. The art room has been blessed this year, with generous people who have donated misc. supplies to the school, giving the long term substitute art teacher, Shelly Jarvis, an exciting challenge to incorporate the supplies into the curriculum. It was that giving of a bag of ½ inch wooden blocks that inspired The African Inspired Art Quilts. The fourth grade started this project, but was quickly realized that other classes could join in for a larger school event. In the end the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders and a few teachers (who got into the project as well) worked in this small scale. “The students did an incredible job with this project,” said Jarvis of her students. “To watch them turn the stamp that they created in different ways and come up with different designs, challenged the way students looked at creating art.” After studying many different traditional patterns that the Aschanti people in Ghana create, students created their own interpretation of these designs that were stamped on small 4 x 4 inch paper. They could have stopped right there. “I liked the designs that everybody got to make. That everyone’s was different,” Madeline Hill reflected, eighth grade student. “It was fun and creative,” said Cooper Merlau, eighth grade student. Designs are done and up on the bulletin board. This was taken a step further and the students printed on strips of fabric. These reminded us of the photos that were looked at during the introduction of the project. These strips were then sewn together alongside fabric from Africa, to create the four lap size quilts that fourth grade students will be have the joy of presenting to Cedar Hill Nursing Home, on December 14th. “I think it was cool that so many grades were included,” said Skylar Thibodeau, eighth grade student. Our school, our community, both coming together to encourage the joy of the season, and to learn more about kindness and giving that connects us all together.
Michelle Jarvis, Art Teacher