A Vibrant Community

Term: 1 Year: 2017

When I first walked into Bacchus Marsh Primary, when I applied for the position of Visual Arts teacher, the vibrant coloured murals, sculptures and amazing design of the collaborative learning galleries, blew me away.

Set amongst a lovely landscape of greenery, hills, trees and gardens, the painted murals create a child friendly and creative atmosphere. A purpose built Arts Space, was adjoined to the original Principal’s house in 2016. This space honours the new and old, as well as linking into the landscape, with large glass doors looking out onto the kitchen garden. Our students are inspired by the creative space and work as authentic artists creating their pieces.

Some of the rooms in the original Principal’s house are used as gallery spaces showcasing student work or community exhibitions. Although Bacchus Marsh Primary School has a large number of students, the school still has a lovely community feel. Students participate in a lot of specialist areas: Kitchen, Science, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, PE, Mandarin Chinese and Garden.

Karen Dodemaide, resident artist and Library Technician, is responsible for most of the murals inside and outside of the buildings. She has based most of her murals on children’s drawings and beautifully captures the playful innocence of early primary students’ drawings.

Local artist, Anuradha Patel, has also contributed beautiful metal sculptures commisioned by the school.

Each year the school holds ‘The Week of The Arts’, where both Performing and Visual Arts are celebrated. This celebration includes activities at playtime, lunch, and opening and closing assemblies. A night time showcase, including a gallery exhibition, roving performers and choir performance is also a highlight. Last year, over 300 people attended the showcase joining in on activities organised by the Visual and Performing Arts Captains.

In the Art room, students are encouraged to develop the confidence to express themselves while making choices on ways they want to present their work. This is achieved by creating a consistently safe space for students to share ideas and participate in regular routines. Over my years teaching as an Art Specialist, one of the most important lessons I have learnt is the power of developing consistent routines to assist students to settle quickly into the space for learning. Each session the students have particular routines they enact and are conducted the same way each time so that the students know what to expect in the session. The juniors sing a song on their way to Art class, leaders are chosen and learning celebrated at the end of the session. The students can then focus on the learning and discovery that happens during their units of work.

We very much enjoy welcoming visitors into our school so that we can learn with, and from each other.

Megan Fromholtz
Visual Arts Teacher
Bacchus Marsh Primary School