With the guidance of the Lower School faculty, students are exposed to numerous arts opportunities from pre-first through fifth grades. Students discover the joy and satisfaction of expression through acting, performing, singing, creating, and building, solidifying the foundation for lifelong learning and a joyous passion for the arts. We believe exposure to the arts enriches and delights every child in all stages of development.
Our music and art rooms are places of research and discovery where children develop unique voices through an exciting and inspirational investigation of concepts, techniques, and materials.
In addition to music classes and theatre arts integration, Westminster’s Lower School students have the opportunity to participate in band, chorus, and orchestra. These music groups cultivate comprehensive musicianship that culminates in numerous performances.
DRAWING IN ART CLASS
As part of a year-long interdisciplinary project about "Birds of Westminster," first grade students spent time in art class drawing chickens. The chickens were hatched in science classes, then relocated to "Cluck Hall," a chicken coop located behind the Lower School.
Fifth Grade students who enroll in band meet in small groups during the school day. In these classes students are given specialized instruction on flute, oboe clarinet, bassoon, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba, or percussion. A full band rehearsal held once a week after school allows the students to develop proper ensemble performance etiquette and skills. The band performs several times throughout the year, including an off-campus performance in December, a Christmas Concert, a Spring Concert in March, and a Lower School assembly concert in April.
The Lower School Chorus is a non-auditioned, after-school elective for students in fourth and fifth grades that meets once a week after school. During the first semester, students prepare for a Christmas concert that is performed both on- and off-campus in December. The chorus is open for additional, second-semester enrollment during the first two weeks of January. Second semester chorus culminates in a highly-anticipated thematic Spring Concert presented at the beginning of May. The concert features solo, small ensemble, and chorus selections, choreography, costumes, staging, and dialogue.
Using the National and Georgia Standards for Music Education as our guide, we sing, perform, improvise, listen, and understand music as it relates to history and culture. With the latest 21st century technology, our teaching tools have been updated, but the philosophy and goals for our students remain the same: music literacy. The music technology labs in the music classrooms are equipped with iMacs with M-Audio Keystation Mini keyboards that interface with software such as Sibelius First, GarageBand, Music Lessons I and II, Music Ace I and II and other new, innovative programs.
An instructional team in both large and small group settings teaches the Lower School orchestras. Students may join orchestra in third through fifth grade; the Allegro Orchestra is for beginning students and the Presto Orchestra is for continuing students. In orchestra, our young musicians work on developing techniques in playing the violin, viola, cello, and bass in solo, chamber, and orchestral settings. They also work on their music literacy and aural skills. The culmination of students’ learning is exhibited in concerts that are presented throughout the year. Presto Orchestra students also perform in the Fourth Grade Medieval Festival; the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter assemblies; and in a performance field trip with the band and chorus during the Holiday Season.
Within the Lower School's art program, students in Pre-First through Fifth Grade are taught within a sequential program adapted to their differing maturational and developmental levels. Our teachers present age-appropriate curriculum which emphasizes building confidence and developing skills and expose students to both two- and three-dimensional forms to express their ideas. Through repeated art experiences in drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, ceramics, and fiber arts, the concepts dealing with principles of art and elements of design are identified and explored, and facility with the tools, techniques, and vocabulary of the process are enhanced. At each grade level, students learn about their artistic heritage through exposure to works of art and artistic traditions in different cultures and times. Whenever possible, art activities are integrated into and/or correlated with the classroom curriculum and other special areas.