art & science combine to inspire Playa Vista students

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One thing we learned in the recent Stanford University study of Art in Action is that a hallmark of our program is the flexibility it affords schools to tailor the program to fit their needs and circumstances while retaining the benefits of a strong, deep and impactful curriculum. This has been a key factor in our ability to bring a comprehensive visual art program to so many kids at so many schools.Lascaux Cave-2nd Outdoors

One of those schools is Playa Vista Elementary School. Playa Vista is a TK–5 school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, just a stone’s throw from the ocean. They selected Art in Action as the school’s first comprehensive parent-taught art program because of the breadth and diversity of the curriculum and recruited a cadre of dedicated parent volunteers (which now number nearly fifty) to teach and administer the program. Although the academic focus of the school is decidedly STEM, parent and Art in Action school coordinator Sunita Sunir worked with the school’s booster organization, the Principal, and a science curriculum writer to integrate Art in Action with grade-level science curriculum.

3rd Braque Still LifeWhile Art in Action’s curriculum is designed to be age-appropriate for specific grade levels, and is aligned well with language arts and social studies in those grades, Playa Vista decided to utilize the flexibility of the program to present lessons that matched the science content being taught in the classroom.

For instance, the Kindergarten class used our second grade lesson inspired by Kirchner’s Hockey Players to support the students’ work learning forces of motion. And the third grade Van Gogh Starry Night lesson turned out to be perfect to help first grade students discuss patterns in space (like orbits).

They also modify a few of the projects to align with the students’ science learning. For instance, our first grade Banda Mask project has the Playa Vista kids focused on using principles of biomimicry in their masks.

At Playa Vista, Sunita says they’ve found the perfect blend of art and science to inspire their young students. The flexibility of Art in Action can help your school meet its educational goals too. Click here for more information on bringing it to your school.

Jeffrey Dollinger
Executive Director