Michelle Buhl-Nielsen Artist Art Tutor Life Drawing Portrait SEN
Scandinavian Forest – a multi-sensory SEN whole school art project for Shepherd’s Down Primary, Hampshire. Read about the day below:
Shepherds Down school’s pupils are aged 4-11 years, and all have a statement of special educational needs. The emphasis was on the process of making art and of having fun just ‘doing’ art in a multi-sensory environment so that all the children would have an art experience regardless of their special needs. There were 14 sessions over the 3 days, each with about 8-10 children, together with 2-3 special needs teachers. As all the children were known to be excited about the project, it was a great achievement that most of the 113 in the school were able to participate.
The project was part of the schools Travel the World theme, where classrooms were transformed into mini countries and invited others to experience their cultures, music, language and food. I chose to create a Scandinavian Forest environment for the children to be invited into for their art experience. Fir tree branches filled the room with their smell, bark and dried leaves in baskets could be touched and smelt, the sounds of birds and deer in the forest were played, and the perfume of sandalwood came from a candle.
The children arrived on an imaginary Viking boat, entering the forest at dawn when it was just waking up. Each child worked with a Perspex square, where they explored the colours of the sun, the sky and then mixing yellow and blue gave them the forest greens, to further explore creating leaves. The sound of birds and barking of a deer could be heard throughout. Scratching, dabbing, smearing, dripping all helped create exciting patterns for leaves, and waxy laurel leaves were also used as stencils with paint enthusiastically sponged around them, with liberal sprinklings of glitter. The finished windows were stunning, creating a stained perspex mosaic that everyone could enjoy as a collaborative piece.