The subject of Art has a special significance in all grade levels at our school, since the curricularly anchored use of the Visual Journal from grades 1 to 13 ensures a continuous interdisciplinary competence not only in the practical art field, but also in the linguistic-reflexive and aesthetic-investigative field. In the Visual Journal, artistic learning processes are documented and reflected on in an illustrative and verbal way, work results are analyzed and evaluated in a cultural context.
In the context of the primary school’s interdisciplinary teaching approach, Art lessons at Nelson Mandela School are closely linked with other subjects (environmental studies, English, German, maths, music and even sport). Topics from these subjects are picked out and translated into art. This includes for instance the sculpting of prehistorical creatures, the illustration of poems, the identification of patterns and structures in sequences of numbers, the translation of music into paintings or the portrayal of movement, etc. Moreover, art lessons at an international school will invariably have a particular focus on artistic topics from all six continents (see also the internal curriculum).
Naturally, the teaching of art techniques and the contemplation of works by visual artists are as important as the above thematic/subject-related aspects, making themes, techniques and the reception of works of art the three main aspects of art lessons in primary school.
Similar to their schoolmates in secondary school, primary school students work in their Visual Journal, a sketching and research book common in art programmes in the English-speaking world. This is where students perform their first autonomous aesthetic research, which is once again interdisciplinary and fine-tuned to the requirements of the different years, from flex class level to grade 6 level.
Berlin, the home of the Nelson-Mandela School, is the German capital of art and culture. Its diverse range and abundance of museums and galleries provides excellent opportunities for visits and excursions which are a mandatory part of our art programme.
Since aesthetic practice and the reception of art are closely linked, the works created by the children are also exhibited in the school hallways and staircases. Once a year, in the context of a so-called staircase exhibition, all classes exhibit their works on a specific subject in the staircase picture frames and showcases. Among the exhibition subjects have been ‘Stars’, ‘Snow’ and ‘Patterns’.