The frames encourage children to spend time looking, rather than rushing to put pen to paper. That lesson – hard to achieve in a time-pressured classroom – is invaluable.
The frames also show children how individually they see.
‘There are 100 – more! – different views through the frame,’ says Rebecca Starrett, a Year Three/Four teacher from Wooldale Junior School in West Yorkshire, who has taken children up to the frame on Wessenden Moor. ‘It depends on where you sit and when you visit it. You see water, moors, sky, night views, dawn views. All of the children who visited found something different to focus on: one honed in on the reservoir several miles off, another created a draw-ing focusing on the tufts of grass up close.’……‘As well as all the wonderful art work, the location lends itself to all sorts of cross-curricular activities,’ says Rebecca. ‘It would be easy to do work on habitat or ecology or to do geography-based work on glaciers and valley formation. It gets children out into the environment. We don’t do that enough’
Denise Basson, who runs the after-school art club at Yealdon Westfield Junior School in Leeds, agrees.
‘The children were talking about the way they were looking at what was in front of them,’ she says. ‘They were taking longer to select what they wanted to do and really thinking about it. And they were noticing things. It was a really changeable day when we went out: breezy, then wet, then the sun came out. One girl was looking and looking and she turned to me and said,’The light keeps making the landscape change colour.’
That time spent observing fed into the paintings that the children produced.
‘It made their work richer,’ says Denise.’
Abridged version taken from an article by Katie Masters in “Teach Primary” issue 8.7