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Visual Arts Curriculum

Lower School

Kindergarten

Art education at the kindergarten level encourages early discovery, exploration and experimentation through the introduction of various art media, tools, processes, and techniques. Perceptual, sensory, and manipulative development is emphasized. Lessons are intended to develop a positive attitude towards art and to foster life-long enthusiasm and curiosity about artists and art experiences.

1st Grade

Students expand their ability to create using varied art materials and tools. Manipulative techniques and processes become more complex, and observational skills and concepts of line and shape are stressed. Social skills such as sharing and respect for the work of others are emphasized. Students become aware of their roles and the role of artists in society.

2nd Grade

Textural qualities and color relationships are emphasized. Manipulative techniques and processes become more complex, and observational skills and concepts of line and shape continue to be stressed. Social and communication skills are further developed through group cooperation. Students are encouraged to express themselves through art and to appreciate their own uniqueness. They learn to view a work of art with greater attention to detail and content, and to express a personal response to the work.

3rd Grade

The concepts of space and dimension are emphasized. Students recognize and work with spatial relationships in two and three dimensions. Pattern order and symmetry are studied. Composition as a fundamental principle of art is stressed. Students may expand their awareness of the value of art in a variety of cultures. Themes of space in relationship to artists and nature and gardens are integrated into their art studies.

4th Grade

Emphasis is placed upon the ability of the students to work in a more realistic manner. They learn to use overlapping planes to give the illusion of space in realistic ways using a horizon line properly. American art is discussed throughout the year and an artist chosen for a group activity. Students continue to identify elements of design and principles of art. Studies are integrated into Language Arts and Social Studies with the reenactment and Ohio studies.

5th Grade

Color relationships and value are explored. Students study and apply the principles of art to their artwork. Drawing from observation, especially from nature, is emphasized and practiced. Students continue to learn to value and respect their own work and that of others. Students view and critique works of historic and contemporary art to enhance their appreciation and understanding of the intermingling of art and culture.

Middle School

6th Grade

Middle School art provides a studio/hands-on approach to visual arts learning. Discrete design elements are connected to students’ personal experiences to teach aesthetic perceptions, historical and cultural developments, and visual art knowledge and skills. When appropriate and possible, class work is integrated into other classes to foster a more intense personal connection to learning. Sixth grade visual art experiences introduce students to responsibilities and expectations of their Middle-School experience. Studies and work expectations are developmentally appropriate.

7th Grade

Work expectations are more demanding than earlier in Middle School. There is increased independence in choices and subject content. Group work is used to strengthen peer communication and interactions. Integrated language arts/social studies/visual art experiences are a significant component of the program.

8th Grade

Eighth grade art continues the hands-on approach and furthers the development of abstract thinking. There is a greater emphasis on direct observation, specifically on the human form, placing the figure in context, and giving it meaning. Students are also taught to see how they work and how that helps them grow in their skills. For example, an analysis of four drawing systems—axis, motion, measured, and grid—are examples of discrete elements that enable an individual to see other possibilities for their work.

In fact, how students see themselves and how they think the world sees them drives the yearlong theme of face and human form. This subject matter is used in drawings, paintings, and sculptures. Students are encouraged to stretch their skills and to be more proactive in creating deeper visual dynamics through analysis and deed. Skills are developed in the framework of time, perception, and respect to individual growth. An individual’s culture and interests are respected and folded into their work when appropriate.

Upper School

Foundations of Art

This core course facilitates a study of drawing and exposes students to a variety of drawing situations, including gesture, spatial relationships, shape, value, line, texture, perspective, and subjective interpretations. These are addressed in a variety of traditional media and some non-traditional drawing experiences. Students are directed to use specific techniques to expand their awareness of technical choices.

Ceramics 1

This course is designed as an introduction for students interested in developing skills in working with clay. A variety of ceramic techniques (slab, coil, pinch pots, tile making, and intro to throwing on the wheel) and firing techniques (kiln, pit firing) are learned. The use of drawing and painting as they apply to three-dimensional art forms are examined. Aesthetics, historical art knowledge, and the critical interpretation and evaluation of works of art are also included. Sketchbooks are kept and artworks are displayed and critiqued.

Ceramics 2

Cermics 2 is a continuation of Ceramics 1 with continued instruction in the methods and techniques of wheel-thrown pots, and further emphasis on personal expression, creative problem solving, and concepts and aesthetics. The use of drawing and painting as they apply to three-dimensional art forms are examined. Aesthetics, historical art knowledge, and the critical interpretation and evaluation of works of art are also included. A sketchbook is used to experiment and illustrate designs, shapes, and assemblages.

Sculpture 1

In this class, students learn the principles and elements of three-dimensional design, as well as the methods and properties unique to working in a variety of sculpture materials. The development of creative and critical thinking is emphasized. The class begins with a series of drawing exercises to learn the principles and elements of three-dimensional design. The rest of the course is devoted to learning methods of creating using a variety of materials, including metals, wood, found objects, and natural materials. Sketchbooks are kept and artworks are displayed and critiqued.

Painting 1

This course is designed for students in grades 10 through 12 who are interested in developing traditional and nontraditional skills in watercolors and acrylics. Aesthetics, art history, and the critical interpretation and evaluation of works of art are included. Lessons include work from still life, landscape, direct observation, and one’s imagination. Sketchbooks are kept and artworks are displayed and critiqued. 

Painting 2

Building on the skills from Painting 1, this course teaches further painting techniques and styles unique to acrylics and oils. Aesthetics, art history, and the critical interpretation and evaluation of works of art are also covered. Lessons include work from still life, landscape, direct observation and imagination. Some paintings explore sculptural techniques. Sketchbooks are kept and artworks are displayed and critiqued.

General Art

This basic studio art course gives students an opportunity to explore a variety of media, including drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, and printmaking. Students learn to use problem-solving skills as they design and work their way through a project, Class critiques and discussions during and after each project teach students how to do self-evaluations and set goals for themselves. Emphasis is placed on developing the practical and critical thinking skills that the creation of art requires. The techniques and skills developed in this course provide the foundation necessary for successful participation in other art courses.

Honors Art

This course is based on the Advanced Placement Studio Art curriculum. The goal of the class is to create a portfolio of work, demonstrate progress, and document it in a journal that includes sketches, ideas, research, color mixes, thumbnail sketches, and anything else useful to the experience. This class is open to the serious art student who has successfully completed the first and second levels of painting, ceramics, or sculpture classes and who wishes to continue in that medium. Students set artistic goals and propose projects; the teacher reviews previous work and approves proposals. At the end of the year, each student presents a body of work at the annual K-12 art show.