Art: A wheel inspiration

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By Robert WattsProgramme Convener for MA Art, Craft and Design Education at Roehampton University, London.

Use an ordinary bicycle to unleash the artistic talents hidden within your class


‘Let Billy do it Miss, he’s the best at drawing!’ Why are so many children convinced that drawing is something that you either can or can’t do? Struggling with drawing is a little like being the slowest runner in the class – it’s not something that is easy to hide – and as children progress through Key Stage 2, many lose interest in art altogether as their confidence diminishes.

Furthermore, many of the drawings children make are often to illustrate work in other curriculum areas, rather than to develop their skills in art lessons. Teachers have little time to reflect upon and respond to these drawings, which consequently are often repetitive in nature and lacking in ambition. It’s fair to say that drawing is often undervalued: ‘Drawing is hugely important to the intellectual and emotional development of young children’, says art educator, Judy Grahame, ‘it’s an essential skill that can support learning across the curriculum.’

Raising children’s confidence in their drawing is a challenge for teachers. The activities that follow offer opportunities for children to use a range of materials to respond to what they see, to represent space, to observe detail and to create compositions. At the same time they provide teachers with advice on planning exciting drawing activities and supporting children’s progress. By looking really closely – at objects, at people, at the world – children will be doing more than learning to draw: they will be learning to see.

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