Curriculum Highlights: Arts
Arts at Westminster
Art is a vehicle of the human spirit, and learning to appreciate and participate in art is essential preparation for a vital, well balanced life. Furthermore, the arts help develop “right-brain” function and encourage “outside-the-box” thinking that is rarely a focus in standard academic classes. For these reasons, the arts are a central component of the Westminster program, and students are encouraged to weave art into the fabric of daily life for the purpose of discovery, self-expression, confidence-building, and life-long enrichment. Classes in Music and Art are included in the weekly schedule for all grades, and every student participates in a Drama production each year. Student talent shows, dance classes, poetry, and art contests are an important part of school life. Annual field trips enhance the students’ learning and appreciation in all areas of the arts.
In the Music Program, students in grades K-8 are introduced progressively to basic music literacy; the components and forms of music, the instruments of the orchestra, highlights of popular music, classical music and opera, and famous composers. Students in all grades are trained in singing and choral speaking, and all students participate in winter and spring music programs each year.
The Visual Art Program begins in kindergarten and continues through the 8th grade. Through a series of studio projects, students gain knowledge and skills in the materials and processes of art, the components of design, and the variety of forms of expression, as well as an overview of the history of art. Aside from the honing of skills and the satisfaction of creating numerous original art works throughout the years, the children learn many far-ranging lessons in art class: that problems can have more than one solution; that there are many ways to see and interpret the world; that in complex forms of problem solving, purposes can change with circumstance and opportunity; that small differences can have large effects; and that the limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition. All students are encouraged to believe in themselves as artists and to engage in creative activity throughout their lives.
The Drama Program is a vital component in the personal development of each Westminster student. Students in grades K-6 participate in a dramatic production every year under the direction of their homeroom teachers. Each child has a speaking part and is guided to develop acting skills and an understanding of ensemble work, as well as poise and self-confidence. Extensive use of costumes, props, and stage sets encourage the development of imagination and creativity. Singing and choreographed movement are often included in the drama productions. Under the direction of the Headmaster, students in the 7th grade produce a Shakespeare play, and in the 8th grade, a musical comedy. Upper school students also assume increasing technical responsibilities for their productions.