Visual and Performing Arts
As part of their study of culture and practical life skills, the youngest children become acquainted with range of materials, crafts and techniques, and develop fine-motor coordination. Their artworks tell stories, describe scenes, engage their imaginations and instill an appreciation for nature. In kindergarten, the children begin more formal art instruction with the art teacher in our rooftop arts studio. In the Lower and Upper Schools, Elementary students use an array of materials such as charcoal, pastel, watercolor, ink, textiles, papier-mâche, clay and wood. They explore line, form, surface, light and perspective. They work independently and collaboratively on artworks that require thoughtful design, detailed planning and careful execution. Their projects may re-enforce their study of history, geography, nature or culture. Recent examples include designs based on the kente cloth of West Africa, illustrations of bridges based on a science project, three-dimensional illustrations of birds and ceramic tiles depicting ocean life. An annual Art Show displays their work for parents and MMS community members to view.
In kindergarten, children begin studying the violin with our strings specialist. They learn parts of the violin, proper positioning, and how to use a bow. Children are also introduced to simple composition and finger placement on the strings. In the Lower and Upper School years, violin class is available to all children as a free after school class, where they can progress into performing in the MMS orchestra.
Young children love music, and our music teacher gives the two-four year olds an opportunity to enjoy singing, dancing, movement, finger plays and percussion instruments. These lessons help children develop their coordination, their awareness of sounds and rhythm and their understanding of music structure. The Lower and Upper School students learn to use their voice as an instrument, singing clearly without tension and with clear intonation. Students continue to develop their sense of rhythm and timing, and learn to recognize visual and aural rhythmic patterns.
Children begin to write and perform skits in the Children’s House Primary program. They learn simple dance choreography and movement. In both the Lower and Upper Schools, students continue to write and create skits related to their classroom study, and in the Upper School, they perform in the Upper School play under the direction of our drama and dance teacher. Every child has a part and the rehearsals extend for a five-week period. Recent performances have included Dear Edwina, Seussical, The Music Man, Honk!, Shrek Jr., and Allie in Wonderland, an original musical commissioned by the school.