The lower school years are the time to build a foundation for a lifelong appreciation of the arts.
Children engage in music, theater, dance, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics and are encouraged to explore and experiment. They visit museums and cultural institutions and study the works and lives of artists.
Arts activities are integrated in the classroom curriculum, whether students are creating clay sundials during the first grade unit on Mexican culture or making Japanese prints during the fourth grade unit on East Asia.
Our young artists strive for educational excellence through practice and constructive critique, reflecting on, revising and refining their work over time. We also strive to use our exhibit and gallery spaces to validate the student experience while engaging our community in an exciting, celebratory, and thought-provoking manner. The visual arts play a significant role in the intellectual life of our students. The arts enhance thinking - the ability to use observation, metaphor, interpretation and imagination. We believe that analysis, creativity, the process of creating something, and innovative thinking are life skills that the arts develop.
Respectfully valuing all perspectives and voices produces a more tangible understanding.
The Heart of an Artist
Junior kindergarten students didn’t just paint hearts for Valentine’s Day in February. Instead, they used their artistic skills to honor one of the most celebrated African-American painters of the 1940s, Jacob Lawrence. The students learned that the Harlem artist painted everyday life as well as historical narratives of African-Americans, including The Migration Series, a pivotal set of pieces that focused on the movement of hundreds of thousands of African-Americans from the rural South to the North, and their adjustment to the Northern cities. Students then created works on paper hearts that focused on their own home and items around it in an effort to showcase the communities represented in their classroom.
Highlights and Shadows
Second graders create self-portraits in the style of Pablo Picasso.
Performing arts are represented in the lower school by general music, band, and dance/movement. From the earliest years, students in music classes begin with what they do instinctively: play. Imitation, experimentation, guided exploration, and personal expression lead effectively into music literacy. The music curriculum is based on the Orff Schulwerk approach of exploration, while it incorporates the music reading, aural literacy and movement-based principles of the Kodaly, Gordon and Dalcroze approaches to music education. The general music program aligns with the academic, physical education and visual arts curricula within a framework of multiculturalism and inclusion.
Outside the classroom
- wind ensemble
- student art shows
- grade-level assemblies
- after school resources for grades 1-4, including visual arts, performing arts and instrument instruction.
For young children, especially, the visceral component of arts education is so important. In our art room students touch art. They put their hands in clay. They put mosaics together. They get to feel materials and fabricate things.”
One of the reasons why theater is so important is that it teaches empathy and presentation skills, and I found myself applying both to my schoolwork outside of the shows.
Participating in middle school and high school productions taught me so much about empathy and creative expression, and as I got older, I realized how much those skills in particular prepared me for leadership in the Latin community and beyond.