What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

R.L. Beattie Kindergarten students showcase water pathway theories through art

Cohen Boyuk Art

The Kindergarten children from Room 115 (2017-18) at R.L. Beattie Public School will showcase their thoughts, theories and trajectories with an impressive art installation. “The Exploration of Water Pathways” will be presented on Tuesday, May 7th and Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 from 4 pm to 8 pm at the McEwen School of Architecture for the children, their parents/guardians and invited guests only.

The installation will provide an opportunity for the children and their parents to engage with and reflect on the theories and thinking presented through the photos and artwork.

The project began last fall. Using a selection of materials, students tested their theories about pathways in bodies, nature, water, forests and mazes. They also looked at directional, electrical and computer coding pathways.

Watching this exciting process of inquiry unfold, teacher Julie Kelly wondered if students could also test and document their thinking using media and the arts. To find out, she invited environmental artist Sophie Anne Edwards and documenter Sharon Speir into the classroom for an intensive weeklong, co-learning residency with students.

Sophie Anne Edwards is a visual artist and writer with over 16 years of experience working with children, including five years as an ‘atelierista’ in early learning environments. Sophie is also the lead author of a two-volume book entitled “The Art of Land-Based Early Learning.”

Sharon Speir, a long-time supporter of early years collaborations, welcomes such occasions when parents/guardians, educators, and artists can come together to explore children’s learning strategies.

In October 2018, “The Exploration of Water Pathways” was featured at the documentation gala of the Ontario Reggio Association Conference at the University of Western Ontario in London. Scholarly articles are also in the works for Early Childhood Education journals.

“This art installation captures the students’ research processes and ecological perceptions,” says teacher Julie Kelly. “The project further reinforces the value of arts in education, and the importance of collaborative, creative and open-ended inquiry in schools.”

Special thanks to artist Sophie Anne Edwards, Karli Laamanen of Kiva Communications for the graphic design, Laurentian University for donating the space for the installation, and the Ontario Arts Council and Rainbow District School Board for supporting this wonderful learning experience.


Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171 ext. 7217

Cohen Boyuk