Bridgeville Events
Thursday, December 2nd. 1999
Teaching children a love of art
By Bill McCauley
Elementary art teacher Kyle Dougherty found out about an art teacher vacancy at Woodbridge through an ad 15 years ago. She's been here ever since. Her work experience includes special education teaching and one year of teaching English, along with coaching field hockey and sponsoring the yearbook.
Now she teaches art to grades 1 through 6 and sees 950 students every week. Dougherty said that she formerly saw students every five days. "Now because we are getting bigger, I see students every six days, and because of the high number of fourth graders, I see them only every seven days." Dougherty does not have a homeroom she needs that time for her planning and preparation. She has to be ready for each class of incoming lively youngsters. After getting to school early, she teaches six periods every day. In addition she has cafeteria duty where she superintends 312 students.
After recently explaining the day's art work to a fourth-grade class mixing water colors to get desired effects she gave personalized instruction to clusters of students and sometimes to one particular student.
Art work mounted on the art classroom wall showed what the various classes were studying. Symbolism, being studied by sixth graders, was shown by the colors of the American flag and what each color means.
Another form of artwork, collage, was also introduced to the sixth-grade students through the art of Picasso and Bracque. This too decorated the walls. Mounted art of the early American artist Jasper Johns effectively showed how collage and symbolism can be combined.
Fifth grade. At this grade level Dougherty is having her students look at art work with a musical background. Studying shapes and forms, students are making watercolor pictures of violins which they then cut out and incorporate into their collage.
Fourth-grade students are painting watercolor pictures of bottles and learning about monochromatic painting in one color only, but in different intensities and shadings. They learn to mix different kinds of hues in order to control values.
Third-grade students are drawing compositions of bottles and shading them with natural colors and pastels.
Second grade. Students are talking and learning about their community and about getting on the school bus and going to school. They go home with an assignment to draw a picture of their home. Dougherty tells the students to get help from their parents in deciding what is to go in the picture.
First grade. At this level, art work of the students is made to tie in with studies in science class focusing on the butterfly.
Dougherty's maiden name is Hogstrom, a Swedish name showing her family origin. She has made five or six trips to Sweden, beginning with her first at the age of 2.
Dougherty said her father came to America from Sweden in the 1930s to work for Firestone Rubber Co. An engineer, he worked for Firestone in Pottstown, Pa.
Upon graduation, Dougherty went to nearby Penn State University and studied nursing for the first two years. However, her love of art won out, so she transferred to the art department.
Her memories of childhood summers are of spending them in the warm sands and salty surf at Bethany Beach. Her grandparents had a cottage in the nearby hamlet of Ocean View where her grandfather was owner and captain of a charter fishing boat. Known locally as Capt. Spetts, his boat carried the name Betty R., his wife's name. Dougherty and her two brothers savored their summers there.
Dougherty lives in Felton with her husband Edward, who teaches English and math at Sussex Tech. They have a daughter, Kiersten, 11, named for a Swedish aunt.
Dougherty says Kiersten, a student at Lake Forest High, likes jazz and plays the saxophone and piano.
Dougherty enjoys reading and traveling. She and her family are looking forward to a trip to Key West, Fla. Also, true to Swedish heritage, she has visited the Kalmar Nyckel on the Christiana River in Wilmington.
A replica of the original ship that brought over Swedish settlers, it perhaps brought relatives of her own forbears.