Wood and paint. Draw and carve. Sand the edges. Choose the colors.
Shop and arts classes help students connect their imagination to a mindful process. Through the arts, they build capacity for focus, patience and self-control, all while creating work they can be proud of. At Dearborn our shop and arts programs provide students with an important avenue for self-expression and creative development.
Elementary and middle school students have art class year round, once a week for 45 minutes. The classes are small, with about eight to nine students per class. Every middle school student has woodshop twice a week. Like most classes at Dearborn, wood shop classes are small (three to six students), well supervised, and run with an emphasis on safety.
During their daily choice time, middle school students can also choose extra time in the art studio or shop.
In both art studio and wood shop, students have the chance to explore creatively in a physically and emotionally safe space. One 13-year-old student said that his woodshop project, “was the first thing he had ever made” that he was pleased with. Graduates often tell us that they still have things they made when they were Dearnborn students. We take pride in offering access to these activities, which are available in fewer public and private schools every year.
In the art studio, students are exposed to a variety of art experiences and build self-confidence through creativity, imagination, and problem solving. Art assignments include drawing, painting, paper mache, pottery and more. The curriculum teaches students local and international art, and emphasizes the importance of personal expression. Whenever possible, we tie art projects into what’s being studied in academic classes.
For many students, wood shop is a refuge where they can see the immediate results of their efforts. Many may feel they are failures in school, but soon discover that woodshop is one place where they can succeed. Some students show real talent, and their newfound confidence can then transfer back to the academic classroom. Woodshop also reinforces skills such as basic mathematics (using a numberline/ruler, fractions, and angles), fine motor skills, planning and goal setting.
Woodshop projects are tailored to skill level and grow in sophistication as students progress. As in art studio, those students who want more time in the shop can come in during their free periods to work on individual projects. No matter their skill level, they make things they enjoy and can take pride in.
Visit the Dearborn Academy online student gallery here.