Curriculum Design

100 Essential Words All Elementary Students Should Learn

Vocabulary is an essential part of the elementary art room. Many of the students who walk into an art room for the very first time won’t know the art-based words that are second nature to us. I’ve even had 5th graders transfer to my school who have never had art before. It is important for me to know which words to focus on to help them find success in middle and high school.

Here is a list of essential elementary art vocabulary words.

For easy navigation, we grouped similar ideas and concepts together. We also broke larger concepts down into related vocabulary.

This list is not a comprehensive look at every word an elementary artist would encounter. Instead, it focuses on the core art ideas that we want our students to understand. Keep in mind it is important to review and revisit all vocabulary words no matter when a student first experiences art.

downloadable list

Download Now

Do you have any brilliant ways to teach or review important vocabulary words?

Did we miss a word that you think is essential? Let us know your thoughts!

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jennifer Borel

Jennifer Borel is one of AOEU’s Adjunct Instructors and Academic Advisors and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She runs her own photography business and is passionate about students exploring the medium.

More from Jennifer