State of the art: Prairie Elementary offers new art education program
WORTHINGTON -- Mrs. W's new art class has its students cheering. "I got cheers the first day we painted," Jayme Wiertzema said. Wiertzema is working as the art teacher at Prairie Elementary, where she is an instructor to all third- and fourth-gra...
WORTHINGTON - Mrs. W’s new art class has its students cheering.
“I got cheers the first day we painted,” Jayme Wiertzema said.
Wiertzema is working as the art teacher at Prairie Elementary, where she is an instructor to all third- and fourth-grade students. She is a 2015 graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU).
According to Gail Holinka, an art teacher at Worthington High School, Wiertzema has already brought a good attitude and a lot of ideas to the District 518 art department.
“She came in with lots of enthusiasm,” Holinka said. “She has high energy, and she is highly motivated.”
Holinka said she spent years attempting to get an art program started in Worthington’s elementary school.
“I’ve been here for 19 years and have been trying to get an elementary art person,” Holinka said. “We need that person to begin the development of art. Art is a way for kids to learn differently and it sparks parts of the brain that can help in other areas, too.”
David Blanchard, an art teacher at Worthington Middle School, said the new elementary program helps him in a lot of ways.
“It makes my job so much easier in fifth grade,” Blanchard said. “A lot of kids don’t get exposed to the things that they will be now, and I end up playing a lot of catch-up to get the kids where they need to be.”
Wiertzema said she teaches nine different sections for an hour each week. She said her class will cover everything from art history to color theory.
“One hour is a great amount of time,” Wiertzema said. “I plan on giving them as much variety and material as I can. The elements of art are really important - things such as lines, shapes, space, value, texture and color.
“We are also talking about art history,” she continued. “We talked about the Mona Lisa on the first day.”
Blanchard hopes the new program will do more than just teach kids how to draw.
“Life is about problem solving,” Blanchard said. “Art really brings that in and teaches students to use their imagination.”