Unless you have a child who attends an Expeditionary Learning School, you may not understand the premise behind that style of education. Based around the ideas of German Educator, Kurt Hahn, the Renaissance Expeditionary Magnet School wants to invite the community to their upcoming art show next month to find out more about what the school offers young minds.
“We are having an open house on Wednesday, March 2, from 4:00-7:00 pm, to showcase the artwork that kids at Renaissance have been working on throughout the year,” said Diane Sparks, Artists’ Edition Co-Chair and Renaissance Secondary School Board Member. That will involve transforming their two main hallways into an art gallery that will showcase paintings, sculptures and drawing from 415 students.
Teachers have already begun to decorate shelves and walls with student artwork. “Our second and third grade artists have been studying artist Deborah Butterfield and her horses,” Sparks remarked. “The study has been very in-depth with the students not only learning about who she was, but why her art is considered art and how she moved through creating them.”
In line with the mantra of project-based learning, the art unit involved a field trip to view a piece of Butterfield’s work. “The students went to the Denver Botanic Gardens to see one of her horses in person and they sat and made sketches.”
Returning to school with a fulfilling appreciation of the artist’s work, they went on to create ‘horses’ of their own. “Because teachers delve so deeply into the subject, it makes the learning process more meaningful. It is in everything we do.”
Pam Cogburn, Art Teacher at the Renaissance School, invited us into the classroom to talk about her current project with her third graders. “We are working on contour drawing,” she smiled. “They are have printed off pictures and are beginning to think about the proportion and details of the animal and how that translates into the lines of the animal.”
And like their ‘open door’ policy, the school is hoping that their ‘open’ invitation to the community will create a buzz for the style of ‘hands on’ learning that is taught there. “Renaissance is really all about community and having teachers, like Pam, who are passionate about what they do…when teachers, students and parents are invested in their education, it’s amazing what they (the students) can produce.”