Importance of art and fun in learning

Finding new ways to teach!

In normal circumstances before the coronavirus pandemic, a highlight this term for P2 has been our trip to Craigmillar Castle. One of our topics for this term is castles and as a teacher I’ve always thought: what better way for children to learn about the different features of a castle from battlements to moats to crenelations than to see them in real life and at full scale. The visit to Craigmillar Castle always presented a wonderful opportunity for the children to experience a medieval castle first hand. It has been a tradition for several years now to collaboratewith Castleview Primary School on this trip. The Castleview children have done live reenactments of castle life in the past and have been incredible, fully costumed tour guides for their Cargilfield contemporaries. 

With the above in mind, the Coronavirus pandemic and its consequent limit on school trips posed a unique challenge for us in P2. How do you bring castles to life, off smartboards and out of picture books without leaving your classroom or your COVID bubble? How do you teach castles when your class has a limited understanding of castles on which to ‘peg’ their learning? 

Our solution: through creative art. Over the past few weeks P2 have been reusing all sorts of materials from toilet rolls to cereal boxes to create their very own castles. They have learned about castles as they have made them themselves. They have learned about crenelations as they cut them out; they have learned about drawbridges as they lowered them themselves and; they have learned about moats as they got out the paintbrushes, painted them and added shreds of blue cellophane with a touch of ‘bling’. 

As we have been building these castles, I have had a key lesson reinforced in my mind. Children learn best when they are enjoying themselves. Learning takes root in the excitement and imagination of creating. Learning is in the conversations that bubble up as they describe their designs to their peers. Art should never be viewed as separate from learning. Art and creativity should be viewed as another tool at a teacher’s disposal to help children learn better.

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Cargilfield where everyday is an adventure

Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.

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