St. Simon art program nurtures budding student artists

At St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos, all students in kindergarten through eighth grade participate in the school’s art program. Children use a variety of media to build a basic foundation and understanding of the elements and principles of art and design. Lessons focus on grade-appropriate projects to engage their imagination, enhancing their critical thinking skills and developing technical and perceptual skills.

One special student used those skills to enter the Los Altos Fall Festival Scarecrow coloring contest, winning first prize in the fourth to sixth grade category.

Said fourth grade winner Ava Caligaris, “I love art, and have learned so much through the art program at school. Our teacher Mrs. Dzigurski leads us through projects that relate to what we are learning in class, which makes class even more fun!”

Students are taught the elements of art such as form, line, shape, color, texture, space and value. In addition, the students learn the principles of design such as emphasis, balance, harmony, variety, movement, rhythm, proportion and unity. Students have the opportunity to work with a variety of art media such as clay, watercolor, oil pastel, colored pencils, Asian brush painting, tempera paint, charcoal, printmaking, and paper maché. Students learn the skill sets to master the use of art tools and technical skills that help the development of eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, problem solving, confidence and personal expression.

Topics in art history include: Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Pointillism, Abstract, Cubism, Expressionism, Folk Art, Modern, Op and Pop Art, Realism, Egyptian Art and the Renaissance. Artists discussed include: Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Henri Rousseau, George Seurat, Alexander Calder, Paul Klee and Andy Warhol.

In addition to the classroom-based program, art classes are also offered throughout the year as an after-school extracurricular activity, complementing numerous other offerings, including: sports, foreign language, chess, robotics, music and more.

To view this story in The Valley Catholic Online, go to