The middle division Arts Program consists of four interrelated disciplines: art, dance, music, and theater. Grade 5 students participate in courses from all four disciplines. Students in Grades 6-8 choose two arts courses per year for more in-depth study. Arts teachers work in concert to support each other’s programs and activities often collaborating to showcase students’ talents. All middle division students participate in performances at Keck Auditorium and/or 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 middle 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.
In the middle division, students choose music courses from among three disciplines: choir, percussion, and wind instruments. Regardless of the area that students choose, developing an awareness of independence and interdependence within a performing group is the most important concept they will master. Performance in a group creates an opportunity for a more varied and complex repertoire of music and also introduces unique genres and applications of music.
In Grade 5, all students become a part of a performance-based ensemble that utilizes pitched and non-pitched percussion, voice, and soprano recorder. They explore music literacy, composition, and improvisation through a variety of folk songs and folk dances. As students gain confidence in these areas they will enrich their repertoire with more complex skills like partner songs, canon, and harmony.
Choir students continue to develop their musicality through an exciting exploration of classical, folk, and modern choral literature. As they approach new pieces, students learn sight singing skills, elements of musical expression, and increasingly complex applications of melody, harmony, and rhythm. Students have the opportunity to explore and perform music that they encounter in their daily lives and music from other cultures around the world.
Band students continue their musical growth through an instrument of their choosing. In class, they learn fundamental skills like breath support, embouchure, and articulation through various selections of beginning band literature. They have the opportunity to perform alone and with others to demonstrate and sharpen newly learned skills within this ensemble. While implementing these newly learned skills students will perform literature that is heard at holidays, in movies, or in other modern day platforms.
In Theater courses, students have the opportunity to explore rehearsal and performance processes through a variety of endeavors. Classes are supported by on-going improvisational games, warm-ups, and meditations designed to enhance a feeling of ensemble and build students’ confidence.
Grade 5 students begin by playing theater games which, while fun, are also serious work for actors. Play helps us learn about ourselves and one another, and allows us to become an ensemble. Later in the year, students examine Shakespeare’s plots and characters choosing scenes for to rehearse and present in May.
Students in Grades 6-7 examine the elements of theatre through acting exercises and explore the stories of some of Shakespeare’s plays, ultimately selecting one to rehearse perform in the spring.
Grade 8 students create their own performance pieces, beginning with a monologue project. Their spring production is a full-length play of their own design.