The Beginning Years’ and Intermediate Years’ arts experiences are designed to guide students’ first explorations of their inner and outer worlds. Observation and reflection are the roots of artistic practice in the Lower School, through which our youngest students develop their intrinsic creative instincts. Students engage in active practice—making, performing, reflecting—which allows them to gain a sense of their emotional, visual, auditory, and physical worlds, connecting them with their community. In joyful engagement in all facets of creative practice, students experience the richness of the arts.
As students in the Middle School transition to a more complex understanding of the world and themselves, their artistic practice (in vocal/instrumental music, performing arts, and visual arts courses) is a vehicle through which to articulate and explore ideas. Students choose from a variety of options—choir/band, acting, visual arts—to develop a deeper level of skill and explore cultural and art historical influences. A core focus in the Middle School arts program is the development of collaboration skills, a growth mindset, community building, intercultural competence, and interpersonal communication.
In the Upper School, students have the opportunity to explore their artistic and personal voice through refined, informed application of more advanced technical skills. Choosing from a wide variety of classes and extracurricular opportunities in visual, performing, musical, and cross-disciplinary work, students experience open-ended practices, refine project and time management skills, and engage fully in the OES Inquiry Cycle (Explore, Connect, Create, Commit, Reflect). Particular attention is paid to iterative thinking, constructive critique, and collaborative practice. In rigorous arts engagement, students develop empathy, resilience, an understanding of self, and a sense of interconnectedness while expressing their voice in a variety of ways.