Almost two years ago I had the privilege of undertaking a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. This enabled me to spend six weeks in North America, Sweden and the Czech Republic. It was a once-in-a-life time opportunity.

An old university friend who lives in Seattle advised me to visit KapKa Cooperative School. It’s an infant school and for more information have a look at their informative website.

In terms of artwork, their school grounds is superb. It is evident that children have been involved in the artwork which reflects local culture, environment and the children’s interests. Here’s what the school looks like from afar:

On closer inspection, look at the school sign outside the school. It makes a change from a standard formal one:

Even the mail box is unique:

The sidewalk is used by the school children. This is simple way for a school to reach out to the local community. There’s a wee garden that the children look after:

The entrance to a school sends a strong hidden message about the ethos within. I think KapKa has a welcoming feel already. Within the grounds, there are many delights to behold:

This bench was painting by the Elder Elder children before they left. Wouldn’t it be great if all schools had such benches!

Little mosaics have been made by children and cemented into the ground near the back entrance.

This is the only mural. But it has a powerful presence and reflects the past and present times and traditions in the Seattle region.

Seattle is rightly proud of its Salmon in Schools programme. KapKa is involved in raising salmon every year.

As you can see, even the climbing framing has children’s artwork! Below is a different angle:

And from further away:

As you’ve probably worked out, the outdoor area is small. However, signs of children’s creativity are everywhere. Look at the bird feeder:

Now, you may be wondering about the inside. It’s equally beautiful. As this is an outdoor blog, I’m just sticking to the outdoor area. But to give you a flavour, imagine working at this desk:

Two years later, I’m still left inspired by my visit to KapKa. Children and adults need beautiful, creative places to live and work where the contributions of children are truly valued and demonstrated. I hope you have enjoyed the KapKa gallery. Please do send me links to other outdoor artwork you have seen in schools.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

allie March 13, 2010 at 14:29

Thanks for sharing about KapKa – I used to live in Seattle and I iften heard about KapKa from colleagues. Art is definitely not just for inside!

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CreativeSTAR March 14, 2010 at 15:54

Hello Allie

Thanks for visiting! I just loved the indoor-outdoor approach to art. The day I visited some of the Elder children were outside for an art lesson looking at the trees as an example of negative space. Fantastic!

Best wishes
Juliet

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Signe March 18, 2010 at 21:40

Hi Juliet, we enjoyed having you visit our school and it’s lovely to see your photos as well. One point of clarification would be that we call ourselves a primary school. It’s great to read about the other places your travels took you! All our best, Signe at KapKa Cooperative School

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CreativeSTAR March 21, 2010 at 21:03

Thanks Signe for your thoughts and feedback. I do apoloise for referring to KapKa as an infant school – here in Scotland, primary schools are for 4-12yrs olds so it was to avoid confusion for the British readers! I’m just sorry that the posting doesn’t do justice to all the other good things about KapKa and how its approach develops leadership and creativity and a host of other positive things. Best wishes!

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