Chicago Grammar School

Lower Elementary: Fine Arts

Music

The Music Program in Lower Elementary is focused on developing cultural literacy and cognitive skills. To promote cultural literacy, the integration of music into the curriculum deepens in scope to include a survey of Music History. For example, while studying Greece, first graders may listen to music in the Dorian Mode. Second graders may sing folk songs from the Middle Ages. All students actually learn to distinguish the sounds of the different eras: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern, and Pop. Neuroscience suggests that music can improve cognitive development, and specifically, that rhythm instruction may have the strongest effect on temporal and sequencing tasks.

Accordingly, in Lower Elementary, rhythm instruction continues and increases in complexity.

Art

The CGS Art Program is designed to provide daily practice in creative thinking and non-verbal reasoning.  All CGS students work in a wide range of 2-D and 3-D media, receiving direct instruction in technique and guidance towards developing a sense of aesthetics. As the students progress, instruction in technique is framed within the context of Art History.

Art is integrated within the curriculum, affording students hands-on opportunity to do something with the knowledge they are acquiring. For example, one might see students constructing clay gardens as they study bug habitats, creating mosaics while they read about the Byzantine Empire or making topographical maps to chart the routes of the explorers as they analyze colonial expansion. In this manner, Art enables each student to create personal experiences that facilitate and reinforce their learning and recall.

 

Drama

CGS also integrates Drama with the literature, history, and science curriculum. Early Elementary students showcase topics they have studied through plays or musical revues. Twice a year, CGS students participate in an all-school production. Past performances have included a Journey Through Africa, a Famous Men of Rome pageant, and an adaptation of A Midsummer’s Night Dream.