Creativity enhances every step of the Park journey. Our robust arts program fuels students’ imagination and enlightens their worldview. They gain capabilities and confidence as they learn to express themselves through visual arts, music, and performance. And they come to deeply appreciate the tremendous value the arts bring to our lives.
You’ll see art all over The Park School. Walls display a bounty of creations from children at every grade level. The drawings, paintings, papier-mâché animals, and “crazy creature” collages (made by drawing, slicing, and reassembling traditional mythological beasts) hint at the many creative endeavors our students undertake.
In Grade 1, children get weekly formal instruction with trained art educators, who are also professional artists. In Grades 2–8, art classes meet twice weekly, and children develop the ability and confidence to work in a variety of media, including drawing, painting, printmaking, papier-mâché, clay, and wood.
As part of the language arts curriculum in the Lower and Middle Divisions, students perform frequently in skits, small plays, and puppet shows in their classrooms, the library, or on the stage of Park's theater. In the Upper Division, where students study a Shakespearean play every year, formal instruction in drama becomes part of the classroom curriculum in Grades 6 and 7.
Upper Division students can elect to try out for cast or crew of the seasonal play instead of after-school sports. Through the drama program, "Players in the Park," students put on three ensemble-based productions throughout the year. These performances serve a dual purpose: to entertain and to enrich the curriculum and values of the Park School community. Recent productions include Mary Poppins, The Phantom Tollbooth, Robin Hood, Guitar Man (written by an eighth grader!), and Sense and Sensibility.
Park’s three music rooms reverberate with the sounds of children making music. Throughout the grades, students explore music through a variety of musical genres, interpretive movement, music listening, stories, music history, and games. Pitched and non-pitched percussion, recorder, and Orff xylophone are introduced along the musical journey from PreK through Grade 7.
Music is a meaningful part of our Grade 8 students’ final year at Park. They can elect to be in chorus, orchestral ensemble, or drumline. All three classes enable students to cultivate their individual musical skills and learn how to participate in an ensemble.
Performances & Informances
Beyond our formal arts curriculum, students often get to speak and perform in front of peers and visitors. In Grade 2 they give biography presentations; in Grade 5 they have Book Character Day; and there are also occasions like the following:
- Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day - Special guests join us the morning before Thanksgiving. They attend classes and watch students in PreK through Grade 3 share their talents during a special informance. (That’s a performance where students share what’s happening in the music curriculum. It’s a celebration of learning that provides a glimpse into the process of music making.)
- Yule Festival – As a school of religiously and culturally diverse families, we believe it’s important to share our traditions and celebrate together. Park’s longstanding holiday assembly is an opportunity to acknowledge both the common values and the varying traditions that enrich our community. Students across Grade PreK–8 perform songs from a variety of traditions and give readings that capture the principles and spirit of Chanukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.
- May Day - PreK–Grade 5 students celebrate spring at a special assembly where Grade 3 students perform Morris and May Pole dances.
- PreK Spring Play - Our youngest students perform a short play, often based on a book they’ve read that year. Last year’s performance was based on the Caldecott Award-winning book Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.
- ARC at Park - Park’s end-of-year event for families showcases the arc of learning in the Upper Division and is dedicated to students’ Accomplishments, Reflections, and Creativity. Students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 are invited to share their reflections and present two of their favorite projects (artwork, research papers, poetry, computer programs, etc.) in various locations throughout the School.
- Lower Division Gathering - Park’s youngest students often perform at this weekly assembly, which features a mix of announcements and presentations geared to students in Grades PreK–2.
- Morning Meetings - Grade 8 students take turns leading these assemblies, which Upper Division students attend daily. The meetings provide a varied showcase of perspectives, entertainment, and announcements, and end with a moment of silent reflection.
Each of these opportunities makes a positive difference in the lives of our students. Over the course of their 10-year Park progression, they strengthen their ability to express themselves—through art, through music and performance, and through their own unique voices.