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Corbett Prep PreK3 Artists Model the Masters

PreK3 pretended to be Claude Monet and created impressionistic paintings seen here in student art show.

PreK3 pretended to be Claude Monet and created impressionistic paintings seen here in student art show.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” ~ Pablo Picasso

April 9, 2013 (Tampa, FL)—PreK3 students sat in the grass outside their classroom at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS looking out at the water lilies in the pond and painted them on their Monet–inspired canvases.

They observed live models dressed as ballerinas and imitated the style of Degas.

Lying on their backs under tables, they painted just as Michelangelo did when he created his masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Young artists experience Degas’ fascination with movement as ballerinas from upper primary act as models.

Young artists experience Degas’ fascination with movement as ballerinas from upper primary act as models.

The masterpiece art unit is a PreK3 tradition at Corbett Prep that incorporates the International Baccalaureate theme “How We Express Ourselves through the Arts.” By imitating the diverse styles of master artists, the students learn that there are many forms of art, that thoughts and feelings can be expressed through art, and that personal experience may influence the creation and interpretation of art.

“The students learn, for example, Monet was inspired by nature, while Degas was motivated by movement,” said PreK3 teacher Leah Gucciardi. “Students also learn there are different ways to express themselves.”

PreK3 teachers Leah Gucciardi, Aimee White, and resident Stephanie More selected a variety of artists from the Renaissance through modern times to provide experiences for the young artists to use many different tools and mediums – oil pastels, paint, markers, clay, and beads – to create paintings, drawings, sculptures, paper and found–item collages, bean mosaics, and jewelry.

PreK3 teacher Ms. Gucciardi assists student with the start of a painting~Van Gogh-style.

PreK3 teacher Ms. Gucciardi assists student with the start of a painting~Van Gogh-style.

Students explored texture and color with Van Gogh’s Starry Night and portrait with da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Covered in their art smocks, they enthusiastically created their own abstract splatter painting – Pollock style. Like sculptor Louise Nevelson, the students crafted monochromatic wooden wall pieces, and they designed collages in the style of artist Romare Bearden. Exploring and emulating Picasso’s work in cubism, the students even experienced the world of avant-garde art.

Research shows that introducing children to the fine arts at a young age stimulates their imaginations and opens their minds to a lifetime of appreciation for art. By selecting high-quality works of art to share with students, teachers provide students with rich and meaningful viewing experiences from which active engagement follows.

A museum–style art exhibition at the end of the unit showcased the masterpieces the students had created during the month–long unit. Proud PreK3 artists led enthralled parents and guests through their “museum” explaining their understanding of different famous artists and the works they created.

“Focusing on their favorite work, the young artists reflected on their personal reasons for the choice and learned to appreciate differences in other people’s perspectives,” Ms. Gucciardi explained.

PreK3 students imitated diverse styles of master artists including sculptor Louise Nevelson as well as Michelangelo, Jackson Pollock, and Leonardo da Vinci to understand the creation, expression, and interpretation of art. The unit culminated in a museum-style art exhibition.

PreK3 students imitated diverse styles of master artists including sculptor Louise Nevelson as well as Michelangelo, Jackson Pollock, and Leonardo da Vinci to understand the creation, expression, and interpretation of art. The unit culminated in a museum-style art exhibition.


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Founded in 1968, Corbett Preparatory School of IDS (formerly Independent Day School - Corbett Campus) is a fully accredited, nonsectarian private school located in Tampa’s Carrollwood neighborhood. The school serves over 500 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and offers the International Baccalaureate program of study for all students. Teachers are endorsed in gifted education through a master’s level grant with the University of South Florida College of Education. Corbett Prep balances a dynamic, nurturing and safe learning environment with high standards and high expectations to develop a positive approach to life and learning. Corbett Prep has become recognized as an exemplary school with over 7,000 visitors observing and learning from Corbett Prep teachers. For more information, visit www.corbettprep.com or contact the Admissions Office at (813) 961-3087.