Shellharbour Public School teacher takes art to the playground

OUTDOOR ART: Shellharbour Public school teacher Jo Dyson with students Brayden Stewart, Keeley Miller, Ginger Cummins, Clay Marland, Curtis Whalan and Scarlett Hughes. Picture: Sylvia Liber

OUTDOOR ART: Shellharbour Public school teacher Jo Dyson with students Brayden Stewart, Keeley Miller, Ginger Cummins, Clay Marland, Curtis Whalan and Scarlett Hughes. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Inspired by a trip to Amsterdam’s Van Gogh art museum where easels are set up outside for the public to use, Shellharbour Public School teacher Jo Dyson couldn’t wait to try it at her school.

An artist herself when she’s not teaching her Year 4 class, Mrs Dyson believes art helps inspire students and develop their self confidence.

“When I saw people using the easels in Amsterdam, I just couldn’t wait to come back home and do that for our kids at Shellharbour,” Mrs Dyson said.

“I went out and bought 10 easels for the school and started taking them out with me on playground duty. My hope was the kids would feel as excited as I was when I saw the easels in Amsterdam.”

So far the students have used charcoal to create direct observation drawings of the school’s landmark fig tree and portraits of one another. “I love the idea that this fig tree that has been in our playground for 110 years is now surrounded by easels for the first time, with kids drawing it.”

She plans to keep the art program fresh by changing the mediums used and moving the easels to different locations within the school. 

“The kids are truly loving it and happily wait in line for their turn.” She hopes other schools will be inspired to start something similar.

“An easel invites you to come and draw. It’s asking you to come and play.”

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