Mrs Ana Nebauer is our new specialist art teacher always seen wearing her distinctive art apron. All Primary Years students have the joy of learning art under her guidance, either every week (in Kindergarten and Prep) or in six-week blocks (in Years 1 to 5).
Born in Portugal yet raised in Australia, Mrs Nebauer has built art into all aspects of her life and career, including stints working in retail and in the beauty therapy industry. After 10 childhood years in Australia, her teenage and early adult years were spent in Portugal but she has now returned to Australia permanently. She has taught art in several schools in Portugal and her tertiary education undertaken in both Portugal and Australia has qualified her to teach across Primary, Middle and Senior Years.
When asked why she left her teaching career in Portugal she reflects a touch sadly that teaching there ‘is very hard at the moment. There are funding cuts and I had to keep changing schools every year’. Nonetheless, Mrs Nebauer developed quite a profile with her students, some of whom needed particular encouragement to keep them motivated in class. Running a class while dressed up as a famous artist – favourites were Frida Kahlo and Roy Lichtenstein – was one tactic, her own YouTube channel for ‘little artists’ is another.
Now married and the mother of a baby boy Mrs Nebauer was all set to become a naturalised Australian in April until COVID-19 caused a postponement. Nonetheless, Mrs Nebauer is busy working at Santa Sabina part-time and her classes run back-to-back on her days at school. When there is time away from work and the demands of mothering, she turns to watercolour painting.
When this writer visited her vibrant Kindergarten class the art-making was related to their unit of inquiry on ‘Family’. With the art of Wassily Kandinsky as their inspiration, the children were making Kandinsky-style family tree collages. Students in other years are making paper notebook covers, a process involving mesh frames handmade by Mrs Nebauer and a home blender – an inventive and sustainable approach from someone who eschews expensive materials if they are not necessary.
Studying and making art – giving life to the spark of creativity – is a vital part of the Primary Years curriculum.
Furthermore, ‘the making of art has no rights or wrongs’, says Mrs Nebauer.
‘Creativity sparks the imagination and gives students a break from their structured lives. Art is an unstructured break from their other lessons’.
Drawing, painting, sculpture with clay, photography, weaving and screen printing are all in store for art lessons in Del Monte this year. ‘I want students, when they leave Del Monte, to go out of here and say “I remember doing that in Primary”’. They might also remember their art teacher’s amazing ability to morph into Frida Kahlo.