The Early Childhood Education program at Grace is highly integrated, with concepts of reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and the arts seamlessly melded together. Our youngest students in Preschool and Prekindergarten leave their homerooms for the playground, the library, and music class, while other special subject teachers bring resources to them. By Kindergarten and Grade 1, students are traveling to special subject classrooms for instruction in art, music, science, Spanish, PE, and library. These journeys give them an expansive sense of school, of being part of the whole of Grace. Our art, science, and technology teachers also bring resources into the Preschool through Grade 1 classrooms, enriching hands-on learning projects with more stuff to take to the maker space, the sandbox, or the garden.
In the Elementary years of Grades 2-5, special subjects enrich and balance out strong core subjects. Students build relationships with the science teacher, the art teacher, the music teacher, the PE teacher, the Spanish teacher, and the math and reading specialists. Special subjects are therefore about more than exposure to new ways of knowing, more than making cross-curricular connections. Special subjects are an opening to broaden student-teacher relationships beyond the homeroom. They give students opportunities to expand their experience of relating to adults and learn that there are a multitude of teaching styles and approaches, as well as lots of different ways of learning about oneself and the world.
Click on the tabs to learn about the wonderfully well-rounded range of experiences in science, music, art, physical education and health, technology, and Spanish.
The art curriculum at Grace is developed to foster a lifelong relationship with art, to ensure self-expression, to foster creativity and awareness of the world around us, as well as to nurture an understanding of the diversity of other cultures. Additional goals of the art experience are to develop creative thinking, to serve as an emotional release, to strengthen self-concept, to heighten aesthetic awareness, to serve as balance to classroom activities, to aid in physical coordination, and last but not least, to generate joy. Through the process of creating art, the students develop their intuitive side. Art emphasizes problem solving, encourages teamwork, enriches language skills, incorporates mathematical concepts, and enlivens and integrates the social studies and language arts curriculum with hands-on projects. The main elements of art – color, line, texture, space, shape, value, form, symmetry, and composition are important aspects of all art projects.
Grades 1-5 have art for one hour a week, and Kindergarten has art for 45 minutes. In the earlier grades the emphasis is on experiencing art through the senses. Manipulation of materials is tactile and spontaneous. The curriculum for the upper grades complies more with the student’s developmental need to have his/her work be more realistic. Drawings skills are sharpened, as is the sense of composition and perspective. Students learn about great masters and the importance of visual history.
Materials are used in accordance with the student's physical and mental development - acrylic and tempera paints, watercolors, crayons, chalk, oil pastels, charcoal, magic markers, paper-mache, plaster, wood and clay. In addition, the school has a kiln for creating and firing sculpture. The curriculum is divided into blocks of study, which are taught in each grade according to the children’s development. Each block relates to a major form of art such as printmaking, portraiture, human figure, landscape, still life and architecture.
The display of artwork is a very important aspect of the art program. Bulletin boards are changed frequently. Framed works hang in the school gallery and are often exhibited in outside venues such as cafes and bookstores.