Commitment to Arts Integration
Our intention is to teach to where children are and to how, as a group and as individuals, they learn best. We deliver our instruction in many ways (logical, kinesthetic, visual, reflective, etc.) in order to address a wide variety of learning styles, preferences, and strengths. Sourced from Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, the work of Elliot Eisner, Columbia University Teachers College, the Arts Plus model, and many others our curriculum is arts-infused. Children need multiple doorways into learning, and the daily presence of storytelling, drawing, singing, poetry, and movement in our lessons makes it possible for every student to find the way in.
Example Arts-integration Experiences
Students make clay sculptures while studying earth materials. Kindergartners do dramatic play to understand how animals live in different habitats. Fifth and Sixth graders create tessellations to study geometry. Second graders create portraits of immigrant children as they read their stories and consider the upheaval in their lives.
Artists in Our School
Each year New City School students and staff members have had the opportunity to work with an artist-in-residence. Through these experiences, students have engaged in drawing portraits, shaping clay tiles, learning dances from world folk traditions, making books, writing poetry, and interpreting and expressing poetry. The resident artist spends a month working with all students and teachers. In workshops, teachers try out the same art activities their students will experience. Teachers can prepare and excite their students for work with the artist. In addition, the teacher learns from the artist, and he/she can help sustain the work of the artist when the residency ends. Residencies culminate with a work-share in which parents, friends, and community members are invited to see an exhibition of the work.
New City partners with the MacPhail Center for the Arts to provide music lessons for children in grades K-8. In the lower grades (K-4), studies focus on choral music, rhythm and movement, and exploration with various instruments. Third and fourth graders learn to play recorders. In the upper grades (5-8), students learn about rhythm, musical notation and composition through classes in drumming and music software. Teachers from MacPhail come to New City each week for music classes.
Enrichment through Options
To further meet the needs of a diverse group of learners, the Options program was created and it has quickly become a highly anticipated part of the school year. This program offers non-traditional classes to the entire school community. Teachers are encouraged to teach a class that allows them to share a special skill or talent. Parents are also invited to teach courses. New City kids view a course catalog and select classes of interest to them. Once a week, for 5 weeks, everyone does Options. People move to all parts of the building and to the outdoors for classes such as skateboarding, stationery making, card games, karate, German, cooking, and more. All of the classes promote multi-age learning. For example, in cooking class, kindergartners learn with eighth graders.