Mr. David Nicolato » About the Teacher

About the Teacher

This September I begin my fourth year as OLC's Visual Arts teacher. Since January, 2016, when I first started, I have been updating the curriculum into a more processed-based approach. This year, however, we have taken that idea to the next level and initiated a STREAM-based art curriculum for grades K-8.
Coming from a Reggio-Emilia background, I have a constructivist approach to learning. Students learn best, in any subject, when taught at their ZPD, or Zone of Proximal Development. Here, they excel by receiving the optimal amount of assistance from their teacher and through a process of building methods of learning, grow more effectively as learners and as people.
Process-based art could not fit better with a STREAM-based curriculum. STEM is about learning through experimenting, making mistakes and then using this information to analyze and redirect  students' learning. When combined with Responsive Classroom, this approach is quite effective for teaching art. 
As an artist myself, I consider my students apprentices, engrossing them in the process and materials and allowing them to learn art-making as an organic experience. Accepting mistakes and working them into one's final product is a great way to learn and a great way to make incredible art.
In our art studio, we employ a community-based atmosphere. Students are encouraged to provide input in the planning of lessons. Risk taking and thinking outside the box are strongly encouraged. Students are permitted to work at their own comfort levels in order for them to more effectively reach their final objectives. 
We use high quality, professional grade materials in our studio. As aspiring artists, students must understand and appreciate the differences between quality materials and basic supplies. It is my obligation and pleasure to ensure the proper use, implementation and care of every material we use. 
As a child, my dream was indeed to be a teacher. However, as life progresses, one changes his mind and along with it, his dreams.
After spending a short time in the USAF, I enrolled in Rutgers University as an Economics major in January of 1992. This quickly changed to a Visual Arts major after I was accepted to Mason Gross School of the Arts.
I received my Bachelor's Degree in visual arts from Mason Gross School of the Arts, at Rutgers University, New Brunswick in 1996. Upon graduation, I immediately started a job in retail, as a District Visual Manager for Williams-Sonoma.
After becoming disenchanted with the retail mindset, I decided in 2010 to pursue my original dream of teaching by connecting it to my love of art.
In 2011, I received my certifications in Art K-12 and Elementary K-5 from The College of Education and Human Services, at Seton Hall University.
This summer, as part of my ongoing professional development as a teacher of visual arts, I enrolled in an amazing online course, Designing Your Art Curriculum. Through it, I was able to set in place, the beginnings of an entirely brand new art curriculum for this coming school year. Art lessons will now be written and implemented through integration with religion and STEM, as well as other cross-curricular connections. More to come...

My art:
In addition to being an art teacher, I am also an exhibiting professional artist, and have been for many years. Currently, I am developing a body of work with a street art aesthetic, focusing on animal cruelty and the animal entertainment industries.

For the last 18 months, I have been exhibiting primarily in Jersey City. Here, I have been in many group shows at LITM, Gallery at the Vito A. Lofts and 107 Bowers Ave. Gallery

Visit regularly for up-to-date information on my latest exhibitions!

P.S.--see below for some images of my most recent artworks