Drama: The Kindergarten and 1st grade years are dedicated to the fundamentals of theater—what it is to be on stage, to be in the audience, and to work together to tell a story. Students gain a rudimentary understanding of the dramatic structure and discover the “inner workings” of stories. Beloved and familiar stories, as well as original (invented by the kids) plays are “performed.” Students engage in creative movement to help with physical expression and control and the study of drama and practicing theater arts also fosters an emotional facility and fluidity that enriches students’ experiences on and off stage. Drama is an integral part of our approach to social and emotional literacy at Mark Day.
Art: In Kindergarten, students learn foundational skills and mindsets in art which they will carry with them throughout their years here. The focus is on encouraging students to see themselves as artists and express themselves confidently in a variety of media. Kindergartners learn about the process of setting up and cleaning up, practice hand-eye coordination, and celebrate different types and styles of art. They begin to work with a variety of materials, including tempera paint, watercolor, clay, and wood to mix colors, create lines of different shapes and sizes, make a portrait, make a mask inspired by masks from diverse cultures, and construct 3D objects.
Music: Music at Mark Day School is an outlet that promotes creativity, inspiration, positivity, empathy, community, self-expression, self-esteem, and fun! The K-3 music program is based on the practice of Orff Schulwerk, a holistic approach to music education developed by the composer Carl Orff and his colleague, Gunild Keetman. We are grounded in the premise that every child is innately musical and naturally loves to play, sing, and dance. This methodology enables every child to find their place within a dynamic, engaging, and creative learning environment. Special Orff instruments include xylophones that offer immediate quality sound. Played together in a small orchestra, their use helps children become sensitive listeners and considerate participants leading up to five-part Orff orchestrations and original compositions. We also support children’s discovery and invite them to include piano, guitar, ukulele, and any other instrument that ignites their curiosity. Our music curriculum is sequential and standards-based, aligned with project-based learning and Responsive Classroom, multi-cultural and socially relevant, integrated with the academic curriculum, accessible to aural, visual, and kinesthetic learners, and most of all – collaborative.
In Kindergarten, students begin with play-based material that includes every aspect of creativity inherent to 5 and 6 year olds: singing, acting, dancing, and improvisation on the xylophones and percussion instruments. They explore beat and pulse through body percussion and small percussion instruments as well as singing voices: as soloists, group singers, and as part of call and response. They also study dynamics: high, low, fast, slow, legato, staccato. Students develop their relationship to the Orff xylophones as an orchestra, first discovering how to play the drone together (often the first and fifth in C major) and exploring simple melodies on top of the drone in the pentatonic scale.