The Well School has a long tradition in the arts: plays, poetry recitals, music, art appreciation, art history, handwork, and dance. We embrace the belief that every student has a need to express his/her artistic self, and we offer many opportunities and modes for this self-expression.
Art has always been an integral part of a Well School education. Our primary goals for the art program are as follows:
To help students love to create and appreciate art.
To teach specific artistic and life skills, such as measuring, cutting, gluing, tracing, looking, drawing, painting in watercolors and acrylics, figure drawing, animal drawing, perspective drawing, etc.
To integrate the classroom curriculum into the art program. Our art projects may link with history, science, geography, English, drama, or math classes.
To include a study of famous artists and art history in our curriculum in order to broaden the students artistic appreciation and vocabulary.
Our philosophy is to include multiple, age-appropriate skills within each class project. Most projects end with a finished piece of art ready for display.
In addition to formal art instruction, art is often integrated in the other subject areas; science and technical drawings; art history; geography and map making. During the last few weeks of school, Upper School students have an opportunity to learn a variety of other skills, which may include scenery painting, batik, felting, woodworking, knitting, weaving, photography, film-making, jewelry making and quilting. We encourage all aspects of creativity as it supports the development of the community, the class, and the individual.
Lower School students participate in the Handwork program to develop fine motor skills, which also stimulate brain development. Students are encouraged to develop confidence, concentration, and patience in learning new tasks, and to feel a sense of pride in their completed projects. In the early grades, students begin with simple projects, which may include finger knitting, felting, weaving, and simple hand sewing. Children then progressively build on the skills they've learned, working on more advanced knitting, crocheting and weaving projects, eventually exploring more detailed sewing such as embroidery, cross-stitch, and quilting.
Students engage in the preparation and practice required to perform before an audience. Through this process students develop poise and confidence, and get to experience the joy of performing for an audience of loving and appreciative community members and friends.
All Lower School classes perform one play each year, while Upper School classes stage two full-length productions, usually one musical and one play. Students have the opportunity to learn all aspects of theater production. Past productions have included, but are not limited to, the following works:
C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance,
HMS Pinafore, and The Mikado
Robert Egan’s Little Shop of Horrors
Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell
Jean Giraudoux’s Apollo of Bellac, Ondine, and
The Madwoman of Chaillot
Moliére’s Scapin, The Miser, and The Pot of Gold
Peter Stone’s 1776
Sam Shepard’s The Buried Child
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story
Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Taming of the Shrew,
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Comedy of Errors
In addition to plays, there are three poetry recitals each year during which each student recites a memorized poem of his/her choosing. Some classes will perform a group poem, and sometimes students recite poetry they have written themselves. Poetry is a unique feature of the Well School that offers a myriad of lifelong benefits, including memorization, public speaking, and respectful listening.
The music program centers around music training and performance, appreciation, and listening skills. Lower School students participate in recorder lessons once a week in which they are taught to read and compose music. They practice recorder daily and are delighted to perform their musical pieces at Coffee House (see below). In addition to recorder, students participate in group singing with their classes and as a whole school.
Upper School students learn to play ukulele, which serves as a foundation for reading music and learning other string instruments. Students also learn music appreciation and listening skills and participate in a school band. Band instruments include keyboard, guitar (electric or acoustic), electric bass, mandolin, recorder, penny whistle, traditional drums, African drums, and other instruments that students may be interested in exploring.
Coffee House is a beloved Well School tradition. Several times throughout the year, students in different grades come together to perform music for our community. Singing and musical performances by both individual students and groups are complemented by the participation of family members and teachers. Coffee House is a time to share food, drink, music, and family in a fun, lively atmosphere.
Each year students in Kindergarten through Fourth Grade participate in a six-week instructional dance program culminating in a performance for the community. Students are exposed to different dance styles, choreography concepts, musicality, and teamwork. The performance is fun for everyone and is often a showcase for budding talent.