Throughout the month of November the museum’s Education Service ran a new pilot programme to enable children with cerebral palsyto take part in our special workshop visits.
A few months ago twoteachersfrom the Escola Nadís SCS school, Llum Tormo and Maria Traid, contacted us to ask about the possibility of adapting the content of the activities we offer to schools to cater to the specific needs and abilities of their students, and in particular of two groups, one aged between 10 and 19 and the other of children aged from 4 to 10.
Workshop at the room Las Meninas
This innovative experience, developed in very close collaboration with Llum and Maria, has been tremendously enriching experience for us, aswe first engaged in a process of reflecting on the contents of our visits andunpacking their contents elementary and then went on to adapt the way we do things in the workshops. We have also learned new working methodologies and, as in any process of trial and error, rated some things very positively and come to see that we need to rethink others. We’re very glad that the Escola Nadís thought of us, and really appreciate the feedbackfrom the school, not to mention the good humour and willingness of all those involved: teachers, volunteers and students.
The students took part in the workshop visits ‘Las Meninas, a series’ and ‘Feeling Picasso’, on two consecutive Mondays. We offered to run the workshops on that particular day of the week because Mondays are when the museumis closed to the public, allowing us more time and space to work with groups with specific needs.
Workshop at the museum’s rooms and in front of Las Meninas
We asked the teachers involved for their evaluation of the experience, and here are their comments:
‘First of all, thanks for the warm welcome and the readiness of the museum’s education team to make this a very valuable workshop for our students. The fact of proposing to run it on a day without visitors also made it easier for the students to concentrate.
‘In relation to the first visit, providing a guide dossierwith which to prepare the material on the basis of the Velázquez painting was very positive in terms of understanding what is happening in the picture and who the main characters are.
Workshop at the museum’s rooms comparing pictures
‘The proposed activity, with each participant recognizing his or her character was a really good idea, because all of the students had their own space to feel an active part of the picture, and it provided a starting point from which to take in different dimensions of the plane. Prior to that we had identified the characters in the classroom on a small scale (puppets), on the computer screen and on anA4 page, but some of the students were surprised at the actual size of the picture.
‘Perhaps we could have done with more information about the details of the Picasso painting (the reason for the use of colour for some characters, and the disproportionate sizes of the different characters, and the layout of the image). Some of this information was provided at the start, perhaps too quickly. But we are aware that the augmentative communication systems we use with our students make communication a slow process.
Students, teachers and volunteers participating in the workshops
‘The other point to be made is that — as you too you have pointed out — the second part of the workshop was a little disconnected from the itinerary through the exhibition rooms of the museum. There was too little time to understand and give examples of consecutive situations or from different ways of looking at reality. Even so, the end result was very positive for all of us.
‘In relation to the ‘Feeling Picasso’ workshop, we would stressthe importance of having had tools to work in the classroom before the visiton some of the elements that we would engage with in the workshop. In view of the specific abilities of our students, the idea of sharing what the painter feels when he iscreating in such a sensitive way is more understandable for them. We really liked the fact that some part of Picasso’s life was explained as a story related to each painting that we looked at. The second part of the workshop was very appropriate, both in the preparation of the material and in the presentation.
‘We rate very positively the adaptation of the explainers’interaction so as to get the pupils involved, interpreting their responses and making available the right material for eachpicture.’