B IntArch (South Aust), PostGrad Ed VArtDesignTech
She started at Christ Church in the Senior School last year, covering long-term leave, before moving into the role in the Prep School.
Before moving to Perth from her home of South Australia 18 months ago, Paula was an art specialist for Years 7 to 10 at Blackfriars Priory School in Adelaide for three years. Prior to that she taught Years 2 to 10 at Pulteney Grammar School for a year and worked in short-term positions at various schools around Adelaide for a couple of years.
Although Paula’s first qualification was in interior architecture, she has loved the move to teaching and particularly enjoys working with the Prep School boys at Christ Church where she aims to inspire a love and appreciation of visual art in the boys aged from Pre-Primary to Year 7.
“As a school, Christ Church really values visual art and the importance of creativity in the child’s development,” Paula said. “The School is renowned for having a strong arts focus and my role is to foster that.”
Working with part-time Art Specialist Karen Blair and part-time Art Technician Adele Swan, Paula said she had a great team in the Prep School Art Department. “We have a really good collaboration and that’s also the way we expect the boys to work. It’s important for them to understand the great strength of collaboration, particularly in art, in sharing ideas and working with each other’s strengths.”
The Primary boys have art classes three times a fortnight and the Pre-Primary boys just twice a fortnight and Paula said more often than not they were virtually running to the door in excitement.
“We align the art programme with the scope and sequence of the WA curriculum,” Paula explained. “But we’re fortunate to have the resources to do really fun, exciting and creative projects. Our kiln is a great asset and we do a lot of ceramic work across all years.”
Sculpture, and any three-dimensional work, is a favourite of Paula’s. “Maybe it comes from my design background, but I think it’s just the whole idea of the boys being able to build something. For them to have an initial idea and learn how to take it from a two-dimensional concept to a three-dimensional object is really important. It’s vital for the boys to be able to build things and it’s great that we have the space and means for them to explore it in depth.”
Paula said the boys liked to have something to work towards. “They like to see an example of what a particular project could end up like so they know the expectations and outcomes before going on their different creative journeys. But I’m also very conscious of not dictating the outcome. It’s a matter of balancing the technique and skill with creativity.”
Paula believes art is a vital part of the boys’ schooling. “It’s about taking risks in a comfortable environment and understanding that there’s never a disaster. Mistakes actually present an opportunity to take a new direction. And this all relates to life… It’s also about valuing the difference of ideas and learning that art doesn’t have to be realistic or have a literal meaning. It’s about growing an awareness.”
Paula loves working with the younger boys. “Their energy and enthusiasm is so joyful,” Paula explained. “They are all so happy to come to art and don’t need to be motivated. The most satisfying part of my role is giving them an idea and watching what they do with it. It’s their unexpected interpretation that is delightful. They are uninhibited by people or ideas and that is the joy.”