Visual arts in the Primary School Curriculum provides students with experiences through the two complementary strands of making art and looking at and responding to art. The recognition that Visual Art is part of the wider arts education areas of music and drama is also important.
As students move into junior cycle, this twin approach to learning, used in the Primary Curriculum and experienced through the six strands of Drawing, Paint and colour, Print, Clay, Construction, Fabric and fibre, will be further developed. Junior-cycle students will be encouraged to respond to and shape their world and Visual Art experiences can allow this to happen in a safe environment. The students will gain knowledge and understanding through both the understanding and creating of art/craft/design work. Students will also improve on and learn new skills through making work across the three strands of art, craft and design.
Students will further their understanding of visual culture through their use of a visual language that is particular to the subject of Visual Art. By learning to use their own critical judgement, they will be empowered to make decisions with their own learning which will be reflected in their ongoing drawings, research, studies and realised work. Critical judgement is a skill that students will be able to use across the range of subjects and short courses they undertake during their three years of junior cycle.
All of the knowledge and skills that students are learning to build on during their time in junior cycle link strongly with the syllabus for art at senior cycle. The depth and breadth of learning that is possible in junior cycle Visual Art will allow students to improve their skills in not just art, craft and design but also their understanding of and approach to historical and contemporary works of art, craft and design. Gaining a critical understanding of works of art, craft and design, including the context of the works and being able to express this through using critical and visual language are useful skills for students as they move into senior cycle.
The skills of junior cycle Visual Art such as collaboration, creativity, innovation and communication are reflected in the students’ learning in the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP). In the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) Visual Art module, students are enabled to respond personally to issues that are meaningful to them. As with junior cycle Visual Art, LCA students undertake a study of their local built and natural environments where they apply their skills to respond in a personally meaningful way. In each of these modules, students use skills they will develop through junior cycle, namely researching, developing ideas, making contextual references, and reflection and evaluation.