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Lower School Specials

Visual Art

Art Twice a Week for 40 Minutes

The art curriculum focuses on cultivating drawing and painting skills. Students learn basic concepts of drawing and painting – line, shape, texture, color, value and space. Throughout the year, lessons build upon each other to develop these powerful skills.

Art lessons include guided instruction while encouraging individual creativity and self-expression. Lessons provide a rich integration of art and other subjects, including literature, science, music and even math.

Teaching children to “see” by looking closely at the world, whether it is an insect or a country, is a powerful tool. Throughout the year, student artists also use the artwork of famous artists, (and not so famous), for inspiration to create their own “masterpieces.”

In addition to drawing and painting, student artists also create 3-dimensional art. This might be a papier mache project, air-dried clay, or collage. This year each grade will also make a class project using found and recycled objects.

Our goal for each student artist is to create meaningful art, and develop a love of art, self-confidence and independence. Kids with confidence can accomplish so much. I love seeing the enthusiasm and confidence that students develop during the year.

Student artwork is displayed throughout the School – look for it on bulletin boards, walls and displays!

Students have art twice a week in 40 minute classes.

Music

Teaching the Joy of Music at St. Elizabeth’s

St. Elizabeth’s School offers music classes for all grade levels three times each week. The classes primarily follow the Kodaly educational philosophy of music education, the tenets of which are that true musical literacy is the right of every child, singing is the foundation of all music education as it is the child’s primary instrument, and that the folk songs of our own culture provide the best vehicle for instruction. Music classes include a wide variety of activities – tuneful singing, purposeful movement, musical games, memory training, inner hearing, reading and writing music, and playing instruments.

Our kindergarteners spend 30 minutes in music class on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Each week our songs and activities follow a theme, such as horses, transportation, or farm animals. Our lessons include pitch exploration, simple songs, echo or call and response songs, movement exploration, fingerplays, circle games, and playing simple instruments. We also focus on basic musical concepts, such as fast and slow, loud and soft, and high and low as well as tuneful singing. By the time kindergartners reach first grade, they will be well prepared for the introduction of formal musical terms and concepts.

Our first- through fourth-graders spend 45 minutes in music class and have lessons that combine the practice of learned concepts with the preparation and presentation of new skills and musical terms. We begin with the basic concepts of rhythm and beat and then move on to the more specific musical notation of various notes and rests. Students also learn the basic notion of high and low pitches and will grow in their knowledge of specific pitches, such as do, mi, and so, as well as notes on the Staff. They also learn about various other musical concepts such as dynamics, verse, and refrain. In addition, students have many opportunities to learn to play basic instruments in ensembles throughout the year.

Finally, there is a musical unit offered that is specific to each grade level. Our first-graders learn about the instruments of the orchestra. Second-graders focus on Camille Saint-Saens and his symphony “The Carnival of the Animals.” Our third-graders have an opportunity to learn about many of our great composers, while students in the fourth grade continue to learn to play the recorder.

As you can see, our students enjoy a rich, diverse musical education experience at St. Elizabeth’s School.

Spanish Twice a Week at St. Elizabeth’s

Spanish at St. Elizabeth?s School occurs twice a week for half an hour with the child’s grade level. We use the Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum which is filled with fun, effective, standards-based lessons. Instead of using worksheets and workbooks, we use music, games, role-play, stories, drama, and art to engage the students? imagination and help them learn Spanish naturally.

When students are able to connect with the content of the lesson, they are able to engage and learn. In addition, our Spanish curriculum includes a cultural piece, in which the students “travel” to Spanish-speaking countries and learn about their culture, history, food, etc. This allows them to expand on the world that they know so they can engage to a fuller extent in the
global community.

PE

Throughout P.E. students learn and build on their ability to utilize basic locomotor skills and movement pathways, as well as a variety of fine and gross motor skills. As they move through the grades, students gain proficiency in these abilities and begin to apply them in a sport specific manner. Students also begin to develop their sense of kinesthetic awareness and proprioception, learning to move safely within a space both on their own and in synchronization and opposition with others. Teamwork and sportsmanship are stressed throughout all grades with a focus on character development through physical activity.  For the middle school, grades six and seven are combined three times a week in order to give them more exposure to a traditional “team” setting in both standard and non-traditional sports. The P.E curriculum is developed through the use of a variety of resources and stresses the enhancement of both health and skill related fitness levels, as well as critical thinking and social-emotional growth.

Chapel and Faith Studies

Our lower school chapel services are based on a methodology called Godly Play, a Montessori-inspired way of exploring the traditional Jewish and Christian scriptures. To some extent, the natural progress of our students’ moral and spiritual development determines the complexity and extent of the exploration process.  Because of the diversity of religious practices and traditions in our family community, our chapel activities include many studies and explorations of traditions beyond Judeo-Christian.  We place a strong value on connections among traditions and an appreciation and respect for one another’s beliefs. Each month, children are taught a character trait in which they learn the importance of respecting one another and their community. At each monthly all-school assembly, awards are given to children who best exemplified that month’s particular character trait.  Chapel has focused on contemplative prayer (meditation) and opportunities to share feelings, questions, and experiences in a safe, respectful, and nurturing environment. It is a quiet time in a busy week.