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Art: a powerful topic for pupils

05 May 2022

“Art gives children with disabilities a voice to channel the emotions they cannot express verbally,” says Helen Gillan, art co-ordinator at Kisharon Noé School, Kisharon Wohl Campus.

It’s on the curriculum for every child at the school regardless of their abilities. Those who struggle physically work collaboratively with an adult.

Helen, Post-16 Teacher and Careers Lead at the school, with a qualification in textile design from the prestigious Saint Martin’s School of Art, tells of a particularly anxious pupil who worried incessantly about world concerns like the environment and pollution. In front of a canvas, these anxieties melt away, and he works peacefully, producing blocks of colour and afterwards talking about them keenly, explaining what they mean to him.

“He loves art and uses it as a tool to self regulate. Before he might have lashed out physically, but doesn’t do that anymore. Art is highly therapeutic.”

While mainstream children worry their art may not look ‘right’, this isn’t a concern for those with learning disabilities who are less self-conscious and therefore more intuitive.

“The children’s emotions pour out onto the canvas, and they have an instinctive feel for colour and pattern.”

Staff have adopted original and creative approaches. Pupils might explore the colour and texture of materials, create abstract pictures using shaving foam and glitter, blow paint bubbles over paper, melt cubes of frozen ink in water, and, by adding salt to ink on canvas create images that resemble an aerial view of planet Earth.

Helen adds: “Art is not only very powerful for the children, it actually empowers them – and not many subjects can achieve that.”



















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Pirkei Avos
“The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.” Kisharon looks at the person not the disability, teaching Torah, Middos and Mitzvot embracing and cherishing everybody’s special talent and bringing out the best in them.