Mindfulness – Mandala Plates

Term: 1 Year: 2017

Year 6 is a stage of schooling where many students feel they have one foot in Primary School and another in Senior School. They are preparing for the next stage of their educational journey with both excitement and fear surrounding the unknown. It is vitally important at this time to keep students feeling connected, well supported and in check with their emotions and wellbeing.

My role is both a Visual Arts Teacher and Pastoral Care Coordinator, therefore I am highly invested and interested in promoting a curriculum that integrates social and emotional wellbeing and learning. Students were shown how to create Mandala designs by plotting dots from a central point in a star-like pattern. These dots then ensured their design had balance and allowed students to create patterns and accuracy in the scale of their symbols. It was posed to students that this was a good way to relax, reflect and release at the end of the day.

For some of the girls, this became a diary. A way of recording the way they were feeling in a new and highly visual manner. Some students began to create Mandalas daily, and others even more frequently, to track their changing emotions. Almost all students, including those who would not deem themselves as being artistic, reflected that the process of drawing a Mandala was a good way to relax. So in response to what began as a creative form of release for many girls, the activity grew into our Mandala Plate Project.

The designs we produced for our plates required the girls to consider more thoughtfully a number of elements. Firstly, the central point is where the eye will naturally be drawn, and everything surrounding builds from this. Students recognised through our analysis of other Mandala designs that the central focal point often incorporated a significant symbol and the pattern and shapes surrounding this created a sense of harmony through repetition of scale and form, along with rotational symmetry.

The students first brainstormed personally significant symbols that they wished to include in their design, and the range of ideas showcased each girl’s uniqueness, from pizzas to reptiles, we had it all! The exciting part was then planning how these would be included in the designs and seeing them begin to take shape. We used carbon paper to easily transfer our designs to the terracotta plates, and paint markers to colour our work before outlining and applying any finishing touches.

The students reflected that creating Mandalas was rewarding because once you knew how to use the guide points to plot your design, it was a simple process, but the end result was highly detailed and intriguing. Our art room is now adorned with a large metre wide Mandala designed by our two Year 6 Art Captains, and serves as a reminder of art as an outlet, for expression and the joy it can bring to the artist and audience alike.

Katie Hobley
Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School
Junior School Visual Arts Teacher
Primary Years (3-6) Pastoral Care Coordinator