Developing confidence through the creative process.
From the first days in a Nursery classroom until the final recessional at graduation ceremonies, the importance of the arts at Town is evident. Walking through the halls, you will see hundreds of pieces of art on display, hear children’s voices singing, instrumentalists practicing, and witness dancers and actors in rehearsal. All students at Town participate in each area of the arts: Dance, Drama, Visual Arts, and Music. Children develop skills in each discipline while learning respect for the work of others, as well as aesthetic awareness and appreciation.
Our arts program provides students with joyful experiences that spark curiosity, develop a continued appreciation of each art form, and foster lifelong learning. The exploratory nature of each discipline empowers students through self-discovery, ownership, and pride through the creation of original work. Students also practice flexibility, inclusivity, and active listening when collaborating with others, while taking risks and developing problem-solving skills through engagement in the creative process.
Visual Arts at Town is a process-based program that provides an entry point to foster inquiry-based learning. Studio Art sequences, along with elements of Design Thinking and Visual Thinking Strategies, are woven into the curriculum to provide a platform for the students to develop problem-finding and solving skills. These skills, together with higher-order creative, critical, and visual thinking, are then integrated into other disciplines. A project-based learning approach is scaffolded alongside content-specific skill development to provide students with a firm foundation within a framework of the elements of art - line, color, texture, and form - through open-ended, exploratory, hands-on learning.
Town’s Dance program gives children the tools that they need to express themselves and to create their own movement by focusing on the elements of dance and choreographic devices. It builds carefully on the natural stages of child development beginning in the N/K Division and continuing through Upper School. Students broaden their understanding of themselves, the world around them, and dance history through movement stories, choreography prompts/challenges, and by learning structured dances created by Town’s Dance Specialists and famous choreographers. Students learn to navigate moving through physical space while respecting each other’s comfort levels and personal space.
Drama is a tool used throughout a child’s education at Town, providing an environment in which students stretch their imaginations, develop physical and vocal presence, and learn to express themselves creatively in public settings. Cross-curricular performance projects provide a fresh perspective on a given subject while reinforcing students’ awareness of the interrelationship of fields of study. The program further emphasizes the joy of performance - of speaking, moving, singing, and dancing. There are numerous opportunities for in-class exploration, as well as rehearsing and refining with a public performance as an end goal. Plays or excerpts are performed in each grade from Kindergarten on, with milestone performances in the fully produced 4th and 8th grade musicals.
Town’s Music program begins with a child’s natural inclination to sing out a song or play a rhythm. These natural instincts are directed and utilized in learning the fundamentals of Music: melody, harmony, rhythm, and form. From an early age, every child experiences varied musical repertoire through the process of imitate, explore, and create. Children are encouraged in Nursery classes to improvise and create their own music through the use of different media, including speech, singing, movement, and classroom instruments. In addition, in Kindergarten and Lower School, principles of rhythm and pitch are taught using concepts from both the Kodaly and Orff Schulwerk approaches to music education. These skills are utilized to create original grade-level productions in grades K through 4, where students compose music and choreograph original dances to tell a story related to a topic they have studied that year.
The scope and sequence of the music literacy curriculum continues through the Upper School. 8th Graders are expected to understand the fundamentals of music theory and solfège and be able to discuss music using correct terminology. Part of the Upper School Music curriculum also focuses on music appreciation and history. Students learn to identify and appreciate a wide range of musical forms, styles, and composers. They study a variety of works, from the Baroque period through American jazz in the 20th century.