The Arts in Lower School
Beginning in Kindergarten, students learn the most basic of musical skills: rhythm and pitch. Continuing through Grade 5, they participate in activities that develop their voices and help them understand their natural inclination toward movement. The Lower School curriculum includes experimenting with a variety of instruments from around the world. Developing listening skills as well as analytical skills supports a student’s understanding of the history and the role of music throughout the world. K–5 classroom teachers work with the music specialist to link lessons and musical pieces with the rich and multicultural curriculum themes in each grade’s academic curriculum. Students in Grades 4 and 5 participate in chorus. Fun, full and rewarding, the music program begins a life-long appreciation for music.
The power of expression is important for students to understand. Developmentally appropriate experiences that begin in Kindergarten give students dynamic opportunities to become confident presenters, performers and public speakers. Kindergarten children may begin by “presenting” a culminating unit celebrating penguins, and eventually perform in the Fifth Grade Play, or participate in the National Junior Forensic League tournament. K–5 builds in many opportunities for self-expression. Grade 3 students develop expressive spirit in their Creative Movement class, and Grade 4 students explore story-telling and poetry recitation during Oral Interpretation class. The Fifth Grade Musical is the capstone drama project of the Lower School. Students are cast and crew; through hands-on experience, they learn cooperation, collaboration, and group spirit.
The Milton Academy curriculum combines exploring historical and cultural perspectives with creating individual work. Lower School children play and discover through traditional and non-traditional art materials. Woodworking is a Lower School tradition in grades K–3. Emphasis is on process, more than product, and students work both individually and together to create their own designs. Projects such as self-portraits, wire sculptures, and plaster armatures of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses are just a few examples. The Lower School art faculty plan classes with homeroom teachers to further the cross-curricular nature of the K–5 program.