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A Safe Space to Learn, Grow, and Make Mistakes

Kate Watson shares her passion for choice-based teaching

Reid Harris works to get the shape of his holiday bulbs in Ms. Watson's art room at Harvest Elementary.

Kate Watson's K-6th grade art room at Harvest Elementary is full of activity and imagination. One of her 6th-grade students, Reid Harris, created an artwork of holiday bulbs that was selected as the holiday card for Alpine School District.

He describes his process, "Ms. Watson did a demo of bulbs, so I decided to do it."

When asked about how she engages such a broad age range of elementary kids in art, Kate replied: "I am very passionate about teaching them that it’s not about who’s good at art, it’s about who sticks with it and who’s willing to take risks and make mistakes. I teach choice-based, so the kids have choices in what they create.”

“The kids really have a lot of choice, and I really help them celebrate failures, because the only way to grow is to step out of your comfort zone.”

Alpine School District's Superintendent, Shane Farnsworth, reflects back on Kate's statement:“Art is the medium, and life is the outcome. It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s a safe place to learn, to grow, to make mistakes, and to help [the students] be creative. One of the six C’s that we promote in ASD is this idea of creativity and building capacity in young people to create. Thank you for creating a safe space for children to create and to learn how to express themselves." 

Superintendent Farnsworth asked Ms. Watson, "What is your favorite thing about being an art teacher in elementary school?" Kate's response was, "Watching the kids light up and have so much fun with the art." A big thank-you to Kate for her dedication to the arts, her ability to celebrate failure, and her commitment to growth.

Want to see more? Check out the behind-the-scenes of Kate's classroom in the video below (her students really do light up):

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