The lower division Arts Program consists of three interrelated disciplines: art, dance, and music. Arts teachers work in concert to support each other’s programs and activities often collaborating to showcase students’ talents. Lower division students participate in performances at Keck Auditorium (Grades 1-4) and the Art Show in the Rosen Student Center on the Pebble Beach Campus. The arts programs provide a rich and engaging curriculum that encourages students to challenge themselves—to look beyond their horizons, to develop new skills, to take risks, and to dream.
Guidelines for the Arts Curriculum
- The arts are essential to the education of all students.
- Students exercise and display multiple intelligences through the arts.
- Understanding of human growth and development shapes effective arts curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
- Comprehensive and sequential arts programs encourage students to make multicultural and interdisciplinary connections.
- Authentic assessment in the arts is designed to demonstrate what students know and can do; it provides a model for assessing all complex learning.
- Creating and sustaining high quality arts programs require partnerships among all faculty and between the school and community.
The primary purpose of the lower division Art Program is to build esteem and confidence in our students through creativity and exploration. We focus on expression, color, and tactile media to engage children and cultivate a sense of success and comfort with art. Students are exposed to many different artists and styles, developing an awareness of artistic concepts and art literacy.
The structure of the curriculum is designed for study of a subject or theme across all grade-levels while working on age-appropriate projects. We do, however, create a consciousness of a particular theme that permeates the classroom walls. Our curriculum does not repeat exactly every year. Thus the students have the opportunity to explore the work of many different artists and styles as they progress through the grade levels. The types of projects, media, and techniques, however, are repeated annually to reinforce the basic principles of artistic expression. Individual work is important in the Stevenson Art Program, and is emphasized. Also, community art is introduced and mimicked several times throughout the year.
The arts serve as the primary signature of a culture, carrying our individual and collective images and ideas from one generation to another. Dance provides a distinct method for interpreting life’s experience and develops a child’s identity and a sense of self worth. Through dance we can identify and share the traditions, socialization, and celebrations of life.
Dance education is a crucial component of a comprehensive education for all students. It is a movement art form that promotes the communication and expression of ideas, feelings, perspectives, and concepts through kinesthetic modes of learning.
Stevenson’s dance department brings people together through culture, celebration, performance, and movement. Students experience a wide variety of dance forms including ballet, tap, hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary dance in a nurturing environment that presents challenges in an age appropriate manner.
Together, our students create powerful articulations of individual and group dynamics through movement. As students learn the art of dance, they develop coordination, imagination, memory, musicality, and motor skills. In our dance program, we support each other’s expressions of movement. We all move our bodies differently, and we encourage all students to express themselves in their own ways thereby creating a sense of trust and acceptance that advances our social learning.
The lower school music curriculum is designed to foster an enjoyment and elemental understanding of music in our daily lives. Through a variety of games, dances, songs, and explorations, students learn to intuit, act, and produce in a musical way. Students create music with their voices and a variety of pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments and explore traditional games and dances from different countries and cultures throughout the world. By actively participating, students create a foundational understanding of the five elements of music: Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, Form, and Expression.
Music class centers around the communal enjoyment that is innate within a performance ensemble. While there are skills and techniques that students must master, instruction is scaffolded to ensure that each student feels a sense of inclusion and contribution to the final product. Students will walk away with a bounce in their step and a song in their heart.
Grade 1 students begin to use their voices in new and creative ways, learning to differentiate between simple musical concepts such as high/low, loud/soft, and fast/slow. In addition to singing popular folk songs and repertoire from a variety of genres, students begin to read and notate bi-tonic melodies.
Grade 2 students continue to expand upon the concepts of melody, form, and expression. As their vocal repertoire increases, so does their capacity to read and compose music. We begin to explore rhythmic and melodic dictation with simple tri-tonic melodies and rhythmic figures reinforced with purposeful and improvised movements. We enhance musical texture with a variety of pitched and non-pitched instruments.
In Grade 3, focus on folk music, creative movement, and musical concepts expands to include a variety of instruments, including the soprano recorder, and is the jumping off point for reading melodic notation. Students develop a firm understanding of melody and continue to explore concepts like improvisation, form, and harmony. As these concepts increase in complexity and nuance, students achieve new levels of musicality.
Grade 4 music is rich in creating and performing. Students play a variety of instruments, including the soprano recorder and soprano xylophone, and learn harmonic accompaniment and textural components. Performance settings include canon, partner songs, and improvisations. Vocal repertoire is rich with folk literature and songs from a variety of cultures, and students explore creative movement and perform folk dances. Students become comfortable notating in pentatonic scale and begin exploring other modes of the diatonic scale.