Lower Elementary Special Class
While art, movement and music are integrated into the daily life of our Lower Elementary program, students at this level also have the opportunity to explore these areas in greater depth with dedicated faculty throughout the school day.
Our goal for these young artists is to provide them with the opportunity to experiment with a variety of mediums and techniques that will engage and inspire them to express their individual creativity. Instruction focuses more on the process rather than the product, as play is vital to creativity. Children learn about the basic elements of art and are also exposed to the work of a variety of influential artists from around the world.
The philosophy behind the choral groups at WMS is rooted in the belief that, by singing in an ensemble, one learns to perform musically at a high artistic level, contribute to the community of the school, build strong interpersonal relationships with other members of the ensemble, and at the same time, form deeper connections to the greater world. Music and singing exist all over the world and have for all of human history.
Participating in ensembles enables the children to learn to sing using proper vocal technique, on pitch and with excellent tone quality. They also practice important ensemble skills such as active listening, singing in unison and harmony, and collaborating with others.
Elementary is a very important time for musical skill development and growth in music and movement awareness. Basic music skills are taught through games, songs and dance as well as specific singing, listening, movement and written exercises. We use Montessori Bells, Tone Bars and musical materials, ORFF and Kodaly sources, the folk songs and dances of America and other countries and classical music of the Western world.
Music listening occurs biweekly in individual classrooms. This is a whole class Special, during which children listen to various types of music—opera, jazz, multicultural, baroque, etc. Lessons include information about composers, types of instruments and musical styles. The teacher and children discuss the pieces of music they have heard.
Physical Education (PE) class is 45 minutes three times a week. Children learn how to play games and build their gross motor skills, strength, and endurance. They also learn to play as a team, practice good sportsmanship, and grow their self-confidence. Students practice communicating with one another, using positive reinforcement, and contributing to the goal of the team. Sportsmanship helps the students understand the importance of doing their personal best. Sports skills are taught through game-related play that gives each child the chance for practice and skill improvement at his/her own pace. Many PE classes take place outside on our 49 acre campus, or indoors in our gymnasium.
Spanish occurs for 30 minutes twice a week. Groups are split as they are for Art. Children learn basic vocabulary such as days of the week, colors, animals and other things, as well as simple conversations.