Eight Winthrop students spent two mornings recently painting the basketball court at Riverview Elementary School.
Scott Sinclair, a guidance counselor at Riverview, organized the project with Winthrop University art education professor Laura Gardner. Sinclair used to work in Winthrop's service learning program and had seen a mural Gardner had created with students at the Piedmont Medical Center children's center. Inspired, he asked her to do something similar at Riverview.
"I had worked with this teacher before," Sinclair said. "I gave her some character traits we want to instill in our kids and her students came up with the designs."
The character traits Sinclair passed along are: cooperation, respect, perseverance, patience, citizenship and making positive choices.
The Winthrop students, who are studying to be future art teachers, took the words and created poster-like images to express the ideas.
In addition to offering their time and talents to Riverview, the college students use the exercise to think about how they are going to teach young children and set up their own classrooms in the future, Gardner said. She asked her students to write a list of words that expressed values they hold.
"I said, 'You're going to be teaching 5-year-olds. Circle the words on your list that you see an image in,'" she said. "You put it in visual language that children can understand."
One of her goals was to get her students thinking about what kind of classroom they want for themselves and their students.
"It's good for the school and it's good for us because (the students) get to get out and think about these things," Gardner said.
Sinclair hopes the students at Riverview will enjoy looking at the colorful artwork rather than a gray slab of concrete when they use the court. He said he's already looking for something else for Gardner's classes to paint in the future.