Spring 2018

Page 28

CENTER STAGE Students and alumni excelling in the arts

Lower School Fine Arts:

Setting Students Up for Success

Lower School students enjoy a robust arts curriculum, including our strings program beginning in first and second grades

When a child has spent days on a sculpture, he understands how difficult it is to get the lump of clay to look like the image he has in his mind. He’s probably had to start over a few times, maybe even change course. He learns that perfection is relative and that he is capable of seeing a challenging task to completion. Knowing the difficulties in the work, he can appreciate his classmates’ projects.

T

HE BENEFITS OF FINE ARTS EDUCATION have been widely

studied, and the results are clear: exploring the arts builds confidence, strengthens problem-solving skills, enhances academic performance and broadens civic engagement. At Ravenscroft, all of that starts in the Lower School. Our youngest students enjoy a robust arts curriculum, starting with music and visual art in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, expanding to include violin, viola or cello lessons in first and second grades,

26

R avenscroft magazine

then band and choir in fourth grade. Ravenscroft’s investment in these subjects is significant: nestled inside the fine arts building are universitycaliber rehearsal, studio, classroom, gallery and performance facilities — including the 454-seat Jones Theatre — used by students of all ages. As music teacher and choir director Katie O’Neill said, “Every student in PreK through third grade has the opportunity to perform in front of their parents, as they all participate in Lower School programs such as Veterans Day, Special Friends

Day and Holiday Sharing. First grade and higher all do a performance on the big stage in Jones Theatre. It’s quite an experience for them!” The Lower School’s fine arts instructors — O’Neill, Mary Royall Hight (music and drama), Amber Hitchcock (strings) and Amelia Karpowitz (art) — model, encourage and facilitate skills and mindsets that will mold young Ravens into evermore-confident artists. Their work also supports the broader goals of the school’s citizen leadership framework, Lead From Here.