In Lower School Visual Arts, students enjoy a rich classroom experience that includes the production of art using a wide variety of foundational materials and techniques, from observational drawing to hand building with clay, as well as the seamless integration of art history, along with aesthetics and criticism activities to target and develop visual literacy. At AIM, we don't simply make art, we also talk, read, and write about art, drawing connections to students' identities and experiences, and situating our discoveries within a larger cultural context. Regular cross-curricular collaborations and interdisciplinary lesson units support our school's goal to "teach literacy all day long"! For example, each year 5th grade students complete a Multi-Genre Dog Project, which involves a research and writing component completed in science, ELA, and writing classes, as well as an accompanying art project that includes a sculpture of the dog breed studied, and a dog house structure that is both informative and visually engaging. This cross-curricular lesson unit ends with a group presentation that utilizes performance and interpersonal communication skills.
Lower School Music
Lower School students are immersed in music through singing, movement games, instrumental performance, and music technology utilizing the GarageBand program. Annual Lower School performances include a Holiday Concert in December and a Spring Showcase in April.
1st and 2nd graders explore the concepts of steady beat and rhythm while learning various seasonal and traditional folk songs, as well as cultural music from around the world. These musical elements are further recognized through instrumental improvisation accompanying storytelling and literary practice.
3rd grade students put their aural skills to the test, practicing active listening, rudimentary music analysis, and basic music notation. Each 3rd grader learns to play the recorder- performing with group and solo opportunities; and composes an original 4-beat song.
4th grade students study the Instrument Families of the Orchestra- strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Students compile an “Instrument Book” to track each instrument as they are given the opportunity to either play and/or watch video clips highlighting its unique qualities. 4th grade students are also given more occasions to explore their individual musical interests through independent working time.
5th grade students study the life, music, and influence of Classical Composers including Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. Each lesson is accompanied by an interactive page added to their personal “Composer Books”. 5th graders also enjoy independent working time within their music classes and new this year- will receive group in-class ukulele lessons!
Musical experiences are further enriched through visiting guest artists, such as from the Curtis Institute of Music, and trips to see the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. At the end of the year, each grade produces a class “music video” wherein they learn the vocals and instrumental parts of a selected song, and then work collaboratively to plan and film an accompanying video project. Individual music exploration, performance, and experimentation are all encouraged as students learn and grow together in a creative, safe, and fun musical environment.
Private and group music lessons are also offered before and after school for a fee.