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Visual Arts


In order to produce individual and media works in the visual arts and to appreciate works of art, students must acquire a certain amount of knowledge related to visual arts language as well as to transforming gestures and the tools that serve as extensions of them. Presented schematically in the program as essential knowledges, this learning is addressed here in order to facilitate teachers’ planning. It is presented in four tables. The first table covers knowledge that students should have acquired by the end of each cycle. The other three tables illustrate, by means of observable actions, how this knowledge is mobilized in the exercise of each of the three competencies developed in the program. Related to the key features of the competencies, the action verbs used in each statement show the progression of learning from one cycle to the next. Teachers will be better equipped to ensure students’ competency development if they include in their planning simple or complex tasks aimed at the acquisition and application of different items of knowledge in a given context.

Since competency development and acquisition of the knowledge underlying the competency are closely related, the particulars contained in this document should enable teachers to help students acquire the tools they need to develop each of the program’s competencies and to discover their artistic sensitivity and their creative potential.

Throughout elementary school, students in the Visual Arts program become familiar with the creative process by using various elements of knowledge to produce their own images. They also use this knowledge to produce images for intended viewers which, in some cycles, must include a visual message, adding to students’ cultural experience. Lastly, they learn to express themselves using the appropriate subject-specific vocabulary and acquire the skills they need to exercise critical judgment when appreciating a work of art, a traditional artistic object, a media image or a classmate’s production.

The elementary-level Arts Education programs were designed to ensure the progression of learning in each subject area from the first to the sixth years. However, since continuity is required only for one of the two arts subjects,1 the second subject may not be  offered continuously throughout elementary school. In such a case, it is important to provide students with as complete an arts education as possible, taking their abilities into account. For example, if the visual arts course is offered in one cycle only, teachers should make an effort to help students acquire not only the knowledge associated with that cycle, but any other knowledge deemed essential. This knowledge appears as statements in bold type.

In short, by progressively acquiring the knowledge outlined in this document, students will develop the competencies presented in the Visual Arts program. The tables will allow teachers to provide students with the conditions necessary for competency development at the elementary level.

1.  The Basic school regulation for preschool, elementary and secondary education stipulates that two of the four arts subjects (Drama, Visual Arts, Dance and Music) are compulsory at the elementary level. According to these obligations, one of the two subjects taught in Cycles Two and Three must be the same as one of those taught in Cycle One.