Written by Junior School, Deputy Head, Christine Blackadar

Background and Purpose

COVID has required many adjustments, and we continue to be proud of how well our students are doing during the school day. At Elmwood, students work hard on academics during class time and engage with equal intensity when playing outside. Our school building and programming helps to guide students into a state of flow, defined as a complete immersion in an activity. I am fortunate to be able to visit classrooms and observe students in this state frequently, whether it is in mathematics, writing, or music. One of my favourite moments happens when students are engaged in collaborative inquiry unit work in a breakout space. I sometimes don’t ask them any questions about their learning as all I have to do is observe it. 

We began STUDIO last year as an opportunity for students from Grades 1 to 5 to engage in a co-curricular experience where they could experience flow in visual arts. Different teachers ran STUDIO, and it was such a worthwhile experience that the decision was made to continue running STUDIO in 2021-2022. This year each student received a high-quality black sketchbook. They have been a terrific addition to the program and are in constant use.  We follow an essential agreement to support their organizational and artistic development, including dating every page, never ripping out a page, and going back to improve or add to early pieces. 


As a Primary Years Program International Baccalaureate elementary school, the educational experiences we provide are cross-curricular and highly enriched. STUDIO 2 is no exception.

Here is a brief snapshot of STUDIO 2: 

  • Inspiration: Grade 5 artwork on display and our students’ love of nature
  • Technique: Plans in sketchbook moving to Sharpie details, watercolours on watercolour paper. 
  • Harvard’s Studio Thinking Framework: Engage and Persist
  • Literature Connection: Bewilderment anecdote about a boy in Grade 3 who paints endangered animals.
  • Social-Emotional Learning Connection: Anecdote from Bewilderment connects to Anti-bullying Week and reinforces October’s kindness focus kindness 
  • Social-Emotional Learning November Connection: Perseverance and Grit
  • Literacy Connection: Our warm-up activity includes quick sketches and labelling
  • Artist Connection: Charlie Harper, a commercial artist

Here is a small sample of some of the art pieces that were created. We are looking forward to sharing more student work with you.