Music and Dance
Students develop music literacy by listening to, performing, and analyzing music. In the school’s specialized dance studio, students explore the use of their body as a means of self-expression and joy. Rhythm, tempo, and elementary vocal and movement skills are emphasized in grades JK and K. In the first grade, as the students move into separate Dance and Music curriculums, dance and choreographic skills are developed further with greater emphasis on form. First grade music lessons incorporate both Kodaly and Orff methodology. Over the course of the school year, students “travel” around the world following their social studies curriculum to experience music from each of the seven continents. With plenty of opportunities to create dance and make music while learning to collaborate with classmates, students also have opportunities to perform for each other, for others in the school, and for parents and caregivers. While the curriculums have their foundations in classical, contemporary, and tap dance styles, students have practice in, and exposure to, a variety of dance and music styles while learning that humans around the world all dance and sing. Through all of these musical experiences students connect with their emotions, find outlets for creative expression, experience windows into diverse cultures and feel valued as part of a team.
The Early Childhood Program at Grace offers each student a variety of opportunities to explore, collaborate, problem solve, develop their individual voice, and build community through creative expression. Our goal is to embrace the artist in every child and to celebrate the process of creating.
First grade students explore the world through a sequence of projects, integrated with their social studies and science curriculum, that celebrate the distinct artistic histories, cultural traditions, and ecological diversity of these locations. Students practice the basic elements and principles of design through a dynamic range of 2d and 3d media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, and textile arts.
Science in the Early Childhood is designed to satisfy the children’s innate curiosity through hands-on experience. Students studying whales in junior kindergarten, for instance, create large paper whale sculptures to get a sense of their enormity. The lesson culminates in a visit to the New York Aquarium at Coney Island. Kindergarteners go to the science lab for weekly classes. They learn about dinosaurs, explore matter and energy, and study the solar system. They learn about animal groups, grow plants, and witness caterpillars turn into butterflies, celebrating with a butterfly release in the spring.
First grade students begin to dive into scientific inquiry and experimentation by closely studying matter, sound, and buoyancy in order to investigate the ways they all interconnect. They also explore the characteristics of living and nonliving things by determining the properties of living animals. This is achieved by studying life cycles, habitats, and varieties of animals. These simple investigations prepare them for the more abstract science content in the lower school.
Physical education classes are held in the gymnasium where two members of the P.E. Department lead the children in activities, allowing them to have fun while increasing strength, agility, flexibility, eye-hand and eye-foot coordination, and balance. JK and K students are introduced to basic manipulative and pre-sports skills using balls, hoops, ropes, paddles, and targets. Students develop large motor skills through structured and unstructured games and play. First grade P.E. focuses on development and improvement of fundamental skills and movements, which lay the groundwork for sports and physical activities presented in future grades. Elementary forms of sports and lead-up games help students understand objectives, rules, strategies, and etiquette needed for healthy engagement in activities. Through these interactions, students learn respect for both their own boundaries and those of others. Communication and socialization skills are also emphasized throughout all lessons. Safety, caring, fair play, cooperation, and kindness are themes throughout the curriculum. Daily recess offers additional time and resources for students to practice skills and games from P.E. class.