Visual arts, creative movement, and music are as core to our curriculum as they are to being a child.
Working closely with professional artists and musicians and exceptional educators, Early Childhood students are introduced to different ways and cultural traditions for creating art, moving their bodies, making music, and expressing their view of the world.
Early Childhood classroom spaces are maker spaces, from the Art Room to the Blocks Cabinet to the Conservatory. Our youngest learners rehearse and stage plays in the Franklin Theater, show their artwork in the Waynflete Gallery, and perform original musical compositions in Pachanga—learning craft, creative self-expression, and confidence along the way.
The Waynflete Art Gallery is both a resource and a showcase for the entire Waynflete community. Early Childhood students show their work in multiple themed gallery exhibitions throughout the year and participate in hands-on activities and exploration around the work of other students and visiting artists.
The Joan Sayward Franklin ’46 Theater is one of the premier stages in Portland, Maine and an incredible venue for Early Childhood students to learn and share their creativity and their craft. From the catwalk to the costume shop to the green velvet curtain, our theater spaces build drama and sustain delight.
Early Childhood students spend their days drawing, painting, sculpting, collaging, printing, and much more. Whether they are recording their own observations or learning about other cultures or techniques, they are immersed in hands-on, materials-based learning while developing their own sense of aesthetics.
Children love spending time in the Early Childhood Conservatory, where they can explore different types of instruments, compose and record their own songs with teachers on the piano, see performances from other students and professional musicians, and join impromptu jam sessions.
Space, shape, force and rhythm are the four main elements of Early Childhood Creative Movement. Giving rapidly growing bodies a sense of the many different ways they can move, our Creative Movement instructors promote a sense of accomplishment, discovery, and confidence.
Early Childhood Arts
The Lower School Visual Arts program is designed to help students develop capabilities for creating, understanding, and appreciating symbols and images. Students participate in a wide range of activities to encourage and expand creative expression, to broaden their understanding of the arts in a historical and cultural context, and to develop a personal sense of aesthetics. Sequential instruction in drawing, painting, ceramics, and printmaking form the core of materials-based learning. World cultures, historical and contemporary artists, and stylistic movements are blended into the curriculum.
In the Lower School music program, students develop musical literacy through creative participation in individual and group experiences; gain understanding of our rich musical heritage and those of other cultures; and develop an appreciation of the connections between music and other forms of artistic expression. Incorporated into these guiding principles are pertinent areas of study as defined by state and national standards for arts education. These include listening, creating/improvising, movement, rhythm, singing, reading and writing notation, playing instruments, and evaluating and understanding artistic culture. The Lower School music program offers the necessary time and space for exploratory play, and provides scaffolding to guide students toward musical form and understanding.
Creative Movement classes in Early Childhood, Kindergarten, and Grade 1 introduce the principles of dance movement and the use of four elements: space, shape, force, and rhythm. These basic elements of movement provide students with a limitless vocabulary of movement possibilities, an awareness of self and each other in individual and group sessions, and a greater awareness of themselves in relation to the surrounding space.
Classes begin each year with an emphasis on the theme of opposites. Through improvisational movement, students explore the concept of antonyms (light/heavy, fast/slow, soft/sharp, and enter/exit). An animal theme is also taught in coordination with stories and fables read in the classroom throughout the year. Literature comes to life through movement and the creative retelling of traditional, popular, and original stories. The program promotes a sense of accomplishment, discovery, and confidence at a pace that is both comfortable and challenging.
“Our EC classroom hums with the work of children—excited and productive play. It is an environment that nurtures experimentation, curiosity, and risk taking. We listen to children’s questions and ideas and design connected and purposeful learning opportunities that encourage deeper inquiry. Come see where they have taken us today!”
Anne Scribner Hopkins
Waynflete Lower School Director