Programs

Arts

Overview

Open Window School presents a robust visual and performing arts program crafted for gifted students. The arts—both performing and visual—are a crucial part of the human experience. Gifted students need the arts to connect ideas, express themselves, and nurture their social and emotional development. The two major goals for our arts program are arts fundamentals and arts integration. All students experience regular arts classes in visual art, drama, and music. In addition, the arts teachers collaborate with homeroom teachers to integrate arts experiences into classroom learning.

Meet the Arts & Movement Team

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Zoe Wilson

    Zoe Wilson 

    Arts & Movement Team Leader, Drama & Movement Teacher
  • Photo of Aileen Granstrom

    Aileen Granstrom 

    Lower School Visual Arts Teacher
  • Photo of Erik Koski

    Erik Koski 

    Music Teacher
  • Photo of Katya Palladina

    Katya Palladina 

    Middle School Visual Arts Teacher

Visual Arts

IN LOWER SCHOOL

In the lower school visual arts program, we strive to inspire students with a diverse range of artists and visual arts techniques, focusing on process over product and providing time for students to reach a comfortable working “flow state.” We prioritize tactile experiences that allow students to build fine motor skills while also emphasizing a healthy creative mindset—the idea that the art we create is an extension of ourselves and a way to appreciate what makes us unique. We want our students to feel included and confident in the art studio, and to explore new experiences without a fear of failure. Participation in the arts is an emotional and social outlet, and often an area of learning that allows for great self-awareness and discovery. Many of our students are talented in math, science, technology, and the language arts, but find they experience struggle when in arts classes. This is a crucial experience for them as they need opportunities to embrace productive struggle and learn grit and perseverance in a safe, nurturing environment. This is the foundation upon which we build technical artistic skills.
 
IN MIDDLE SCHOOL

Students undergo a period of great personal change during middle school. They learn more about themselves and begin to better define who they are and who they want to become. Our goal in the middle school visual arts program is to build upon the foundational arts skills provided in lower school while providing the opportunity to dive further into specific areas of interest that older students, with greater capacity for focus and depth of thought, can manage. Our art studio is a safe, welcoming environment where all students are encouraged and feel seen, and can work without fear, judgement, or competition. Middle school students understand that art is an extension of themselves, and we work to take this idea a step further, emphasizing that students have the power to bring their art to the world and use it to affect change and reflect upon their own personal growth. We connect the projects we do in the studio to the role the arts play in our modern world, and to help students identify potential future careers in the arts, all of which require a strong foundational understanding of art principles, history, and design. The technical skills we provide become a toolbox students can pull from to express their ideas, now and in the future. 

Drama

IN LOWER SCHOOL

There are three main goals of the drama program at Open Window School: creative expression, collaboration, and confidence building. A safe and brave space is created for students to express themselves through storytelling. All students benefit from the social and emotional development that occurs in drama class. Students navigate the inherent challenges of creating a play which include working with a team, problem solving in rehearsal, and the fear of performing. With consistent drama classes kindergarten through fourth grade, students gain confidence and essential skills in their development each year. Kindergarten and first grade drama classes are rooted in creative drama, where students go on imaginary adventures to problem solve and learn performance skills. Grades second through fourth engage in drama on a deeper level through character development, playwriting, and theatrical design. Each grade level does a yearly performance that is often integrated with the homeroom curriculum. Performances occur on our recently renovated stage for the school community.
 
IN MIDDLE SCHOOL

Drama class makes space for our middle schoolers to develop and celebrate their identity, connect with peers, and build confidence. Our graduates leave Open Window with a toolkit of skills to confidently share their ideas with an audience. Performances include student-written plays, musicals, and plays. Students perform on our recently renovated stage for the school community.

Students who have a curiosity and love for drama can go deeper through the middle school electives program. Electives offered spark creativity through acting, theatre design, playwriting, and comedy.

Music

IN LOWER SCHOOL

In lower school music, students sing, chant, play instruments, listen, and play games. The kindergarten through fourth grade curriculum incorporates a variety of methods and approaches, including Orff-Schulwerk, the Kodály Method, and Music Learning Theory (MLT). All students learn tonal syllables (Do, Re, Mi) and the Kodály/Curwen hand signs for the musical scale. Elementary general music focuses on developing audiation (musical thought) and follows a “Listen, Speak, Read, Write” language learning sequence. In the case of music, speaking is replaced with chanting and singing. The voice is the primary instrument of elementary music, and students sing both melodies and bass lines. Using a wide variety of meters and tonalities expands the musical vocabulary of students and embraces the rich musical diversity of all cultures and ethnicities. In addition to singing, Open Window School has a large variety of percussion instruments for students to explore. By singing and playing multiple parts of the same song, students begin to audiate harmonic function in addition to melody. Lastly, singing and movement games provide a safe and welcoming context for students to explore new concepts, take risks, and sing solo.
 
IN MIDDLE SCHOOL

Middle school students build on their knowledge from lower school and sing more complicated songs in a variety of tonalities and meters. Students also focus more on the “Read” and “Write” steps of the “Listen, Speak, Read, Write” learning sequence. Students clap and chant rhythm patterns in multiple meters. Students also begin sight-singing melodies using solfege syllables (Do, Re, Mi) and the Kodály/Curwen hand signs for the musical scale. Students transfer and express their musical ideas using various apps and technology such as Garageband for iPad. Students compose pieces and begin writing short melodies with harmonic accompaniment. Students also explore the Ukulele, an instrument from the string family often used as a steppingstone to guitar. In collaboration with the drama program, students will perform in a musical at least once in their middle school career.

Students participate in choir through our electives program. The Open Window School Choir sings songs in unison as well as 2 and 3-part harmony. Students learn the basics of vocal production including body alignment, breath support, vowel production, and registration. Any student that can echo short tonal patterns is eligible to enroll. The choir performs for various school events and for the community throughout the school year.

Middle School Arts Electives

In middle school, the Open Window arts offerings shift from “grade-level specific” classes to “content offerings” where students gain broad experience in the arts while having some choice of their classes. While students will receive exposure to music, drama, and visual art, they also engage in arts electives.

Classes vary by year, but examples include:
  • Music (Choir, Ukulele, American Music History, Rock Band)
  • Visual Arts (3D Printing, Photography & Photoshop, Clay, Pencil Sketching)
  • Drama (Musical Theatre, Improv, Silent Filmmaking, Playwriting, Play Analysis)
Open Window School provides a challenging academic curriculum blended with nurturing support from teachers that prepares students for long-term success.