Teacher's hobby inspires learning art project
Posted on 06/19/2018
Occupational Therapist Caroline Dart, staff and students with mosaic mural at Buckland Mills ElementaryCapping off a month of work, Caroline Dart and her students recently unveiled a mosaic sensory mural at Buckland Mills Elementary. Dart, an occupational therapist resource teacher who also serves students at Gainesville Middle, and Mullen and Tyler Elementary schools, was introduced to the art of mosaic as a graduate student in Philadelphia. Her personal hobby evolved into a project designed to help her students improve their fine motor skills, and bring a lasting piece of art to the school’s outdoor learning area.

“Children love to learn by touching and exploring,” remarked Dart. “As an occupational therapist, our interventions with kids are always activity-based. Through the process of making things and doing activities, that's how students learn different skills or hone in on skills that are more challenging for them.”

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade were involved in the mosaic creation, which depicts an abstract sun. Dart drew the outline, and students chose from different glass tiles, marbles and beads to fill in the rays of the sun and the sky backdrop. The placement and gluing of the materials gave students the opportunity to enhance fine and visual motor skills while being introduced to an art form and leisure activity.

The mural hangs in the outdoor learning area for all Buckland Mills students to enjoy.

Caroline Dart sits in front of Mosaic Mural

 “I want it to be a great conversation piece,” explained Dart. “When you see a child or a teacher come up to the mosaic for the first time, you can see the wonder in their eyes and the smile form on their face.”

Dart plans to involve students in sensory mosaic projects at her other school sites in the future.