Music is emphasized for its power to create and nourish a sense of community; it infuses the daily life or our school and our curriculum. While we have a music class for concentrated learning of particular instruments (which advance in complexity as children advance through the grades), we also rely on a variety of musical experiences such as singing, listening, and performing music. We begin with the building blocks of music appreciation; taking advantage of the natural physicality of young children as they experience tone, beat, and rhythm with their bodies. This joyful and immersive beginning builds a special awareness that develops a rich appreciation of music as part of culture, and ultimately gives students the ability to create music for themselves and others; an artistic and social skill to carry throughout life.
Visual and Performing Arts
Artistic activity is an integral part of the curriculum. Every art has an academic and developmental dimension embedded in the activity: knitting, for example, is a fun method to introduce counting to young children, while developing fine motor skills at the same. However, art is also appreciated for art’s sake. Instruction in practical arts is intended not simply to teach skills, but to support each student’s unfolding as a well-balanced, self-confident individual. Over the course of eight years, every student learns to knit, crochet, embroider and sew, as well as model with clay and work with wood. And students have many opportunities for creative expression through watercolor painting, drawing, modeling and puppetry.
Spatial awareness, strength and coordination, healthy social interaction, and a joy in movement are the goals of classes in movement and spatial dynamics. These classes take place mostly outdoors and include games and sports such as volleyball, basketball, archery, Ultimate Frisbee and cross-country skiing, along with juggling and other circus arts. These activities are coeducational and stress teamwork rather than competition: students gain social sensitivity, a heightened awareness of each other’s place in the group, and new capacities for academic learning.