Our aim is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him in his inmost core.
– Maria Montessori
While arts education has long been a priority at WMS, arts integration - an approach to teaching that integrates visual and performing arts to enhance students' learning and understanding - became a key part of our school's strategic plan in 2014.
When a subject such as math, science or history is paired with a specific art form, students are more likely to fully engage in lessons, relate ideas across disciplines and more readily retain information.
Some classrooms create dramatic tableaux – a theater technique in which actors use their bodies to create frozen pictures of different scenes – to help students recall the details of historical events and narratives. Other students practice the actor’s toolbox - focusing on using the voice, body, imagination, concentration and cooperation - to reinforce success in the learning process.
WMS teachers attend the Kennedy Center's annual Arts Integration Conference, where arts integration educators from all over the country gather in Washington every year to share best practices and demonstrate hands-on experiences.
Our school has also worked closely with the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education (DIAE) to offer a wide range of arts programming. Over the past few years, DIAE has provided opportunities for WMS students to learn about:
- Poetry and composition (with the Twin Poets)
- South American cultures
- West African music (with Tony Vacca)
- Making musical instruments from recycled materials (with Bash the Trash)
- Papermaking (with Nanci Hersh)
- Assamese Indian dance (with the Dancing Monks of Assam)
- Creating mandalas
- The history of hip-hop music and dance (with Chosen Dance Company)