faculty P R OF I L E Breck Moorefield LOWER SCHOOL ART TEACHER
BY HEATHER LAMBIE Walk into the newly-designed Lower School art room, and it is apparent that change is afoot. That is because former Middle School Art teacher Breck Moorefield made the move to the Lower School over the summer when veteran art teacher Mary Stenov retired, and began “changin’ it up!” as she says with her signature, southern pep. Moorefield, who has a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art (studying one semester in Italy), a master’s degree in Art Education and a second master’s in Art Therapy--all from Florida State University--has a vision for the future of fine arts at Canterbury. “I want to see how the best in the nation do things, and I want to do it better,” she says. “I know we’re known for marine studies at Canterbury. That’s one of the reasons we brought our children here! But I want us to also be known in the community for our arts program. I’m on a mission.” Moorefield’s mission starts with the mindset that art makes academic connections happen. On the day of the photo shoot for this article, Moorefield illustrates (no pun intended) those academic connections. “Kindergarten is studying ancient Egypt,” she says, “and they’re learning about tombs and mummies. But to organize all those things on an egyptian landscape, and talk about the texture of the sand, and painting a sunset, and drawing pyramids to scale all helps to make sense of what they’re learning. Yes, art is essential for developing fine motor skills and connecting sensory with visual and auditory, but from an art therapy perspective, having something on paper also helps makes sense of what’s going on in [a student’s] inner world.” When it comes to art therapy, Moorefield knows of what she speaks. Prior to
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moving to Florida, she worked as an art therapist at three different hospitals in Nashville, one children’s and two adult. She ran therapy groups for children battling cancer, teens dealing with depression, and adults with Alzheimer’s disease. On this day, however, she moves about the classroom, guiding tiny hands to wet watercolor brushes and explaining the difference between horizontal and vertical lines, and how the sun’s horizon is a horizontal line. The children smile and create, unaware that they are digesting history, geography, science, math, and art as they blend colors for the perfect sunset shades. Just as important to Moorefield as the academic connections, is the way art--at least the way she teaches it--encourages children to try everything at least once. “Some local schools have station-based art classes where students can choose at which stations they’d like to work,” she says, “but children should not be focused on just one thing like that. They need to be exposed to what they don’t like to know what they do like. The smell of wax to make a batik painting, the texture of paint on your hands and making handprints--especially for PK3--is very important for sensory development. Also,” she continues, “from art therapy perspective, it’s an opportunity to spot early sensory issues with students.” When she paints their hands to make handprints, for example, “some have a [visceral response]; they either like it or
This fall issue of Canterbury School of Florida's magazine features stories on students, faculty, alumni and grandparents.