In independent schools, we view the arts, athletics and academics as core pieces, with equal value, in the school curriculum. Students in Early Childhood have strong exposure to the arts; this includes art classes as well as music theory.
Art Classes: PreK 3s and 4s
In art class, students work with our Artist in Residence in a studio setting. Our preschoolers work in whole group instruction or sometimes in small groups, which rotate each week, depending on the project being developed. Since art is a centerpiece to preschool learning in the classroom, our preschool art class curriculum is designed to be a deeper and richer artistic experience. Students use a wide variety of tactile materials, such as clay, watercolors, sculpture materials, fabric and paint, in an environment where creativity is key. Preschool art is about self-expression; the adult’s hand should not be seen in the preschool art piece. Preschool art is about process; all pieces should look individual and one-of-a-kind. We integrate our curriculum so that the themes being developed in the preschool classroom are also explored artistically in art class. We want our students to have the opportunity to demonstrate what they are learning in other disciplines (language arts, science, mathematics) through the creation of a work of art.
Art Classes: Kindergarten and First Grade
Artistic expression and art fundamentals are critical aspects of our kindergarten, first and second grade art curriculum. At these stages, students are exposed to techniques, specifics artists, and great works of art, as well as key elements of art including: line, shape, form, space, texture, value, and color. Students often study important works of art and then practice the techniques unique to creating a similar piece of art. Key aspects of the experience include: developing a sense of aesthetic judgment and color theory, understanding how visual arts relate to history and culture, and showing appreciation of the creative works of self and others. SMART Board and iPad technology are used in the classroom to enrich understandings and to offer a unique form of multi-media art-based experiences.
Music: PreK 3s and 4s
Music is the basis for Harbor Country Day School’s performing arts curriculum. Preschool students attend a minimum of two music classes a week in which various topics relating to music are explored. Singing and vocalization are of great importance to our music program. Singing, chanting, rhyming and rhythm activities are used to encourage active participation in an inviting environment. We believe that singing helps to promote a positive sense of community for even our youngest students. In addition to singing, preschool students use various rhythm instruments such as claves, egg shakers and drums to explore rhythm, timbre, and tempo.
Music: Kindergarten and First Grade
Kindergarten marks a more formal classroom structure for our music classes. Students attend music class twice a week and participate in both our choral and instrumental programs. Beginning in kindergarten, all students participate in chorus. Chorus is an important aspect of our music curriculum, as it fosters a sense of community, responsibility and teamwork. Students perform in the winter and spring concert each year and develop skills such as following a conductor, pitch matching and concert etiquette.
Harbor’s instrumental program begins in kindergarten with the use of hand bells and glockenspiels. Students are introduced to the concepts of pitched instruments versus rhythm instruments as they learn to play songs throughout the year. Dynamics, timbre and rhythm are emphasized as a precursor to our recorder program. First grade students participate in our recorder program. It is designed to challenge and stimulate a developing sense of multitasking and coordination skills. Through a differentiated approach, each student progresses through the program at his or her own rate, allowing for an individualized experience tailored to each student.