The supportive and inclusive nature of a Bunbury primary school has helped produce an uplifting and inspiring piece of art from one of its special needs students.
Picton Primary School student Emma Matthews’ artwork Happy Flowers won the People’s Choice Award at the Mental Health Week exhibition, with visitors impressed by its colour and joyful appeal.
Education assistant Ginny Harwood, who supports Emma in the classroom, said all the children with special needs at the school were encouraged to be as independent as possible.
‘‘The other students are really supportive of her — they see she needs a hand sometimes but they also understand she likes to do things herself,’’ she said.
Picton principal Mike Thomson said Emma — who has Down syndrome — had been in the same classes with most of her peers since kindergarten.
‘‘She has built a strong relationship and bond with the other children,’’ he said.
‘‘Even when new children come to the school, they see how the other kids interact with her and it becomes contagious.’’
Emma is the youngest participant in the mentorship program Art Partners, which provides a mentor for people with a disability and they attend mainstream art classes together.
Five other members of the Art Partners program also had their work displayed as part of the Mental Health Week exhibition.
As part of winning the People’s Choice Award, Emma had her artwork framed and received a portable easel.Her artwork will hang in Picton Primary School’s administration building as a temporary exhibition.