Primary Schools Programme 2005⁄6
“Harvest” - 21st January - 11th February 2006

This year the West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen hosted the BreadMatters III exhibition in September⁄October. Each year we run a Primary Schools Programme based on one of the exhibitions in our Autumn schedule and this year we chose BreadMatters. The project aims to support teachers in delivering the Visual Arts curriculum and to expose children to artwork in a gallery situation. Schools sign up for the programme at the beginning of the Autumn term and are then offered a trip to the arts centre to tour the exhibition and create some artwork of their own in response to what they’ve seen. The teachers then work with the theme throughout the autumn term in their regular art lessons to produce a piece of work to submit for the childrens exhibition held during our annual childrens festival in January. Giving the children the opportunity to exhibit in the same space as the professional exhibition gives great validation to their work.

The teachers receive a project pack with information about the exhibition, discussion points and practical ideas for the classroom based around the theme. There is also a follow up visit to the school later in the term by one of the artists working on the project. This is to ensure that the teachers are given as much support as possible to produce quality work. This year the project was run by schools coordinator Alison Trim with help from Sarah Ruttle.

We had 20 schools involved in the project this year - a total of about 60 classes ranging from Junior infants (aged 4-5) up to 6th class (aged 12-13).

To broaden the theme for the schools to work with we chose the title “Harvest” for the programme this year. Themes like sharing (symbolised by the breaking of bread), growing and changing (symbolised by the raising properties of yeast), understanding of others (symbolised by the different breads important to each culture), hunger and famine (symbolised by lack of bread), local history and family (symbolised by home baking) healthy eating, and religion were all linked to the theme, giving teachers the opportunity to make links across the curriculum.

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