The Mountain Community School believes that the arts represent an essential component of a student's education. Arts are indivisible from life; therefore, the arts are indivisible from education. The arts are symbolic of the human condition and help us to understand ourselves. Instead of telling students what to think, the arts engage their minds to sort out their own reactions and articulate them through the medium at hand. Individually, mathematics, science, and history convey only part of the reality of the world; nor do the arts alone suffice. A multiplicity of symbol systems are necessary to produce a more complete picture and comprehensive education.
Through attaining a basic knowledge of the arts, children are not only better prepared to understand and appreciate works of art, but also to communicate their ideas, feelings, and judgements to others. A good understanding of the arts grows out of at least three modes of knowledge - creative, historical, and analytical. Early study of the arts should embrace all three modes with special emphasis on creativity and active participation.
Core Knowledge will serve as the foundation of our arts program. In the visual arts, students will study generally recognized elements of art including line, shape, form, space, light, texture, and color. The use of these elements in design of paintings, photographs, sculpture, and architecture will be examined through the history of world cultures. Biographies of well-known artists will be included. We will use extension programs to enhance student appreciation for and understanding of the arts, such as the "Arts in the Schools" project, developed in conjunction with the North Carolina Museum of Art, and "Architivities", from the American Institute of Architects.
Students will be given opportunities to learn about music through listening, as well as through active participation in music activities. The elements of music including rhythm, melody, harmony, form, timbre, etc., will be examined through listening to representative instrumental and vocal classical works, as well as singing familiar melodies. Students will learn to recognize the sound of different musical instruments, and will be introduced to basic musical terminology. Simple biographies of well-known composers will also be a part of the curriculum. Students in higher grades will become familiar with the elements of an orchestra, as well as musical styles which vary across cultures and time periods.
The MCS will encourage the use of music, art, dance and/or theater as independent learning activities, and/or as extension activities for lessons from history, language arts, and sciences. While reinforcing learning from other parts of the curriculum, such hands-on activities also serve to build self-control, discipline, cooperation and sequencing skills, as well as providing a holistic basis to education.
Our region hosts a wealth of artistic talent, and we anticipate inviting local artists to assist with programs for The MCS students. A local community theater group has expressed a willingness to offer outreach programs at the school, as well as offering support for dramatic arts endeavors of interested teachers and students. The school and the community will mutually benefit from the bonds created by these and other cooperative efforts.
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