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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Impressionism for Kindergarten

Class Topic: Impressionism




This lesson on impressionism introduces young children to the themes associated with the impressionist movement and emphasizes the outdoor nature of the artwork and the use of color to showcase light and time.

This set helps prepare Massachusetts kindergarten teachers to meet the MASSACHUSETTS CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS AND LITERACY incorporating the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

 Grade : Kindergarten

1.            Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

a.            Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).

b.            Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.

2.            Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.

3.            Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood

4.            Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.

5.            Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.

6.            Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.

This lesson prepares students to visit an art museum (MFA) and be able to start to develop visual acuity through the use of visual thinking stategies and other associated activities focused on Impressionist paintings. This lessons suggests previsit activities which will mimic the actual museum visit so that children will be comfortable when visiting the museum.  When visiting the museum, students will sit in a semi-circle in front of the selected painting and be asked a series of questions requiring them to answer in a prescribed order (either raise of hand or going around in a circle). All students will be expected to participate.

Previsit activities:

1) Reading several associated children's books out loud. Suggested reading material: 

Squeakng of Art, The Mice Go to the Museum by Monica Wellington  Hardcover, 32 pages    Published April 1st 2000 by Dutton Juvenile      ISBN 0525461655 (ISBN13: 9780525461654)

A primer in art appreciation for the very young, this boldly illustrated picture book about ten mice taking a tour of a museum is part child's view of a museum and part ode to the inspirational power of great masterpieces.

Katie Meets the Impressionists by James Mayhew   Scholastic Inc., 1999 - Juvenile Fiction - 32 pages

Enraptured by the flowers in a painting by Monet while visiting the museum with her grandmother, Katie is transported into the enchanting realm of Monet where she also meets Renoir and Degas, in a wonderful introduction to art for young readers.

Philippe in Monet's Garden, by Lisa Jobe Carmack, Boston: Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), 1998.

A frog named Philippe makes his leap to freedom into Monet's Giverny garden, where he finds "a home to call his own" and inspires the artist to add "some green to his painterly scene."


2) Looking at the slides and asking the children questions about what they are seeing. No introduction is necessary since the main purpose is to get the children to look at the reproductions and get accustomed to describing what they see, and how they came to these observations. You might ask them to sit in a semi-circle on the floor and practice going around with the answers, which is likely to be replicated at the museum site. Only one of the slides in the collection is exhibited at the MFA .


Post visit activities

Together with the children, get some paper, acrylic paints and brushes and have fun doing an Impressionist painting.  Perhaps decide on a theme, scene or season to portray.  Watch the MFA 1-minute video showing Monet painting and then go outdoors and paint just like the Impressionists did.

If the weather does not cooperate, try this pond paper plate craft: Have the children use acrylics to paint over a paper plate as background for a pond, with rough brush strokes to mimic Monet. Make lily pads out of green paper and lilies out of colored paper and attach.

The best thing about trying out the Impressionist activities is that they do not need to have that finished/polished look to be a true Impressionist work.

Other ideas for art activities can be found in Art Workshops for Children by Herve Tullett which features 12 workshops, each offering a list of materials needed, a step–by–step guide to facilitation, practical tips, illustrated examples, and photos of workshops in progress. The workshops are designed to spark children's imaginations, champion group bonding, and give visually pleasing results – with no artistic ability required.

SBN-13: 9780714869735 Publisher: Phaidon Press Publication date: 09/21/2015 Pages: 72    Age Range: 1 - 10 Year


Created By

Caren Ponty


English Language Arts, The Arts

Grade Level


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