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Creating a World

October 5, 2022 | Clara Buckley

In worship we are telling the story of Creation, every day unveiling a little more of the universe. The children respond to the story in many ways in the classroom; through collage, at the light table, in the puzzles, reading books.

In the studio, we reflect on God’s creation in paint.

Using the words of our worship song: And God said, “Let there be light.”

We are learning new art techniques; stippling paint, tearing paper, snipping fringe. And new procedures; getting the right amount of paint on a brush, putting the cap back on our gluestick.

And God said, “Let there be seas. Let there be sky.”

There is a structure about how to use the materials, but the design process is open-ended. Even if the teacher presents a theme, such as light or water, the child creates the composition in a way that is pleasing to him or her. Each child’s work is valued. 

And God said, “Let there be land. Let it be green.”

As God’s creation grows, so our skills build on each other. At paint students begin with only one color. Then they learn to wash their brush so they can add a second color, to add details using a smaller brush. Students paint alongside one another, standing at the easel. They encourage each other and learn from each other. Some days we share paper and create a collaborative painting. 

And God said, “Let there be sun, and moon, and stars.”

As God’s world develops and flourishes in the story of Creation, the walls of the classroom and worship room fill with the student’s art. Maybe they will find a place on your walls when we send the series of paintings home in a few weeks. Until then, we’ll enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in the blustery wind, falling leaves, bird song, and ripening apples.

And God said, “Let there be fish. Let there be birds.”

Clara Buckley

Preschool Art Specialist; Middle School Art

Clara Buckley’s teaching spans the ages of Mustard Seed School, from the youngest students in the preschool to students in the graduating class. She’s found many similarities between teaching three-year-olds and thirteen-year-olds!

As an art teacher who never enjoyed drawing, Ms Buckley’s hope is that each child she teaches discovers a way to create art that they enjoy, whether it be sculpture, printing, textiles, architectural drawing, or collage.

Ms. Buckley loves living in Jersey City, a place whose diversity and welcome for immigrants reflects her own family experience. When planning future travel destinations, art, food, and time with family are featured items on her list.

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