Digital Art with Billingbrook Special School

The project enabled the children to explore and develop their knowledge on Horticulture by creating a painted garden on their school wall (see figure 1). Horticulture is studied at Billing Brook Special School as a hands-on approach that provides sensory purposes and works as a therapy. It also provides trips, aids social skills and results in a qualification. This is something extremely important to the school, especially next year when GCSE’s will be taken out of the curriculum and replaced with functional skills.

Throughout the topic the children were able to experiment with different techniques and mediums to assist the key component of the topic, the wall. The various mediums (paint, paper, collage materials, colouring pens/pencils and iPads) enabled the children to create and develop numerous techniques so that the project was accessible to all. Digital art was something vaguely new to the school and therefore a pleasure to teach.

To begin our project, we began by discussing our initial ideas to suit the chosen theme. It was highlighted by the school that they did not want the painting to be in a cartoon style. Taking this into consideration, along with the theme, we felt that the picture embedded many different flowers in size and colour, this therefore emphasizing diversity (a key component to the school).

The main aspect to the project was ‘the wall’. Most of the children had an exploration lesson before hand so that it could remain focused, either one-to-one or for bigger classes a few children per student/TA. For those children who joined the project in the last week (due to the requested extension), an exploration was provided before they painted on the wall however this was very brief. Most of the children were able to visualise the expectations from looking at the wall and discussing it (what they think the flowers have been made with and how).

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