Ms. Iman Coupet is the talented art teacher instructing all of the students in the Early Childhood Division at Concordia International School Shanghai. Her keen eye for beauty and her ability to plan unique art projects for the students have been a winning recipe for the stunning Hungry Caterpillar Art Series displayed in the EC hallway.
Every child contributed to this remarkable work of art. She was interviewed for the Focus, in an attempt to share with you her objectives and inspiration for having our students create this masterpiece. Her interview responses are presented here in this Focus article.
What inspired you?
I’ve always enjoyed sharing the story of the Hungry Caterpillar with my students. However, I was particularly excited to share this story after hearing the school’s yearly slogan, “THRIVE.” I felt that the story of the hungry caterpillar was a great metaphor to symbolize what it means to thrive, especially for small children. They grow, learn and sometimes get a tummy ache after eating too much sugar, but they eventually develop and transform into the free thinkers that will shape our future world. So I was very inspired to teach these series of lessons, emphasizing on molding, forming and transforming through creative expression.
What does The Hungry Caterpillar signify?
It signifies the beauty of growth. We start off as small baby caterpillars and through our experiences and lessons we can transform into something as beautiful as a butterfly. Every student is progressing very well as artists and I hope this creative spirit will carry out into their later lives. Because, when you have a creative mind, solving problems are not challenges, but are chances to open your mind to new opportunities to grow and to “THRIVE.”
How did you make it? — How will it help the students?
All EC students have been learning about the 7 Art Elements. So, while making their caterpillars the students were learning about Form (Art Element), by making the form of a caterpillar. They first practiced molding the caterpillars with play-dough, to understand how to mold a 3-D shape. Then they created their final caterpillar with model magic (modeling clay) using their knowledge they gained from practicing with the play-dough. After their caterpillar forms dried, they began to paint. The caterpillars really came alive after painting them with gouache paint and adding lot’s of glitter! Each caterpillar was very unique, and it was really interesting to see what each student came up with.
The butterfly was a whole EC effort, and for the making of this piece the students were learning about Texture (Art Element). To allow them to understand what a texture is we first went on a “Texture walk,” where we walked around outside and found different textures to grab using a thin piece of paper and crayons. After the students gained some understanding of the concept of texture we began to paint texture onto a huge butterfly structure that I created for the students to paint on. The Kindergarteners were the pioneers to start off the the blank butterfly, then it was built on, layer by layer by each class. From Kindergarten to Pre-K to Pre-school. You can really see the students hand in the work — and even some… feet. The butterfly piece became a mix-media (gouache paint, colored art sand, pom-poms, glitter) 3-Dimensional model. Which represents how much the students are blossoming and thriving as artist.
What’s your favorite part about it?
My favorite part of the Hungry Caterpillar Series was the whole process it took to create it! It was great fun and I feel that students really enjoyed participating in these activities. I also feel like it can be something that they can remember. I hope that it planted a seed of creativity in their hearts and it will continue to grow and flourish and influence their perspective of Art in the future. Because Art is not always deemed as an important subject, however creation is the very basis of our universe as it was created for us and we were given the ability to create ourselves. So I always believe that our creative spirit or interest should never be overlooked, it should be fostered and embraced. So we ourselves can thrive like a beautiful butterfly.
We feel blessed to have such a visionary and talented art teacher here with our children in the EC Division. We look forward to seeing more beautiful works of art developed throughout the school year. Thank you Ms. Coupet! Thank you students for sharing your beautiful designs in The Hungry Caterpillar Piece for everyone to enjoy!