On the Journey 

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Re-imagining the arts in Middle School: creativity & discovery
Posted 08/27/2018 11:58AM

The arts are such an important part of life and of learning -- an ideal way to cultivate collaboration, discovery, and imagination. Here are some details on recent improvements to the art program in Middle School.

By Brenda Stockdale, Head of Middle School

In 2020 InSight, the Strategic Plan for Aspen Country Day School, the school made a special commitment to look at the arts program and how it develops imagination, creative expression, and understanding of the arts. The charge to the faculty and leadership reads as follows:

Review the middle school electives program with an eye toward ensuring its effectiveness in delivering a foundational arts education to our older students.

Throughout the previous school year, Head of Middle School Brenda Stockdale met weekly with the arts teachers to examine the schedule, course offerings, and philosophy of the arts program for Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Graders. As a group, they agreed that exposure to the vocal, visual, and dramatic arts is essential for the developing mind. Previously, Seventh and Eighth Graders had "electives" four times a week - some of which were fun and educational, but not necessarily art-related (trail building and yoga, for example). To give students a solid foundation in music, art, and drama to better prepare them for high school and beyond, this coming year the arts curriculum will look slightly different. 

Here is more detail about the restructured Middle Schools arts program for 2018-2019. Sixth Graders, as in recent years, have one trimester of studio art, one trimester of music, and one trimester of drama. Once a week, they have a technology class focused on responsible use of technology tools, research, and digital citizenship. 

In Seventh Grade and Eighth Grades, students have music, art, and drama throughout the fall, giving them a solid foundation in these three areas.

Starting in January, Seventh and Eighth Graders begin working on the All-School Play in a play rehearsal & production class twice weekly. Also twice weekly, they have a choice of art classes that include stage combat, choreography, and music theory. 

More opportunities to practice creative expression will come in a variety of clubs, which will meet on Fridays during the last period of the day. Faculty will sponsor various activities depending on students' interests.

We look forward to working with students to accomplish our mission to develop their imagination, creative expression, and appreciation of the arts. In addition, we want them to understand the foundational principles of art, music, and drama to prepare for adult lives that are enlivened and enriched by creativity of all kinds.

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