3rd grade students stage a musial that reflect ideas that arise from their study of history and literature.

The arts in Lower School – music, drama, art – are a means of creative expression for students and a consistent dimension of student learning. As an essential part of culture, the arts provide shared experiences that are an avenue for Lower School students and teachers to build community. Because the teaching of music, drama, and art is woven throughout the curriculum, the arts provide an ideal, interdisciplinary platform for “learning to learn” through repeated practice. “Of equal importance to learning about the arts and practicing how to engage with and create art are the opportunities that they provide for students to develop a sense of purpose,” says Dr. James Duval, Head of Lower School and Assistant Head of School. “As students explore the arts, they continue making connections throughout their learning.”

Following a discussion of art words that begin with the letter “P,” the letter of the week in their home base classroom, PreK 4 students created collages using pink and purple materials.

These connections are the result of careful planning and collaboration between the arts specialists and classroom teachers. “Our teams of teachers engage in collaborative planning sessions in which interdisciplinary connections are discussed and designed,” says Dr. Duval. “For example, art teachers will meet with other teams of teachers with the goal of identifying concepts, skills, or themes that are held in common. From there, teachers across teams collaborate to create sequences of lessons or learning experiences that highlight the strength of connections across disciplines.”

There is genuine enthusiasm for the arts and arts education throughout Lower School at every grade level. “We are excited for our arts program at the Lower School to be ever more interdisciplinary and connected to other parts of the curriculum,” adds Dr. Duval. “We also have the benefit of designated art studio spaces, music rooms, and a black box theater for our various arts programs. This allows us to create learning environments specific to the individual arts disciplines that enhance the learning experiences of our students, which is always our primary goal.” 

Kindergartners begin their music class with a call and response activity, integrating both English and Spanish activities into their curriculum.