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The fine and performing arts program is extremely varied and is designed to encourage students to formulate standards of artistic appreciation, develop natural talents, and express creativity and feelings through the arts. Applewild considers the arts fundamental and therefore requires all students to take part in the program throughout their years at school.
Under the aegis of the visual arts department, students receive instruction in drawing, printmaking, clay, collage, three-dimensional construction, ceramics, digital photography, weaving, and puppetry. Students in our woodworking program learn to use hand tools during their Lower School years as they practice measurement and fractions that they are learning in mathematics and sometimes execute projects that connect to their science study. As they move into Upper School, they begin to use power tools and draw and construct their own designs and furniture as they become more proficient. Our ninth graders have earned awards at the Mt. Wachusett Community College regional high school furniture show.
Music education at Applewild is based on active participation through listening, expressing, and performing. Our students are introduced early to vocal and instrumental music and are afforded continuing opportunities to study and perform in both fields. Starting in the fourth grade, students receive instrumental instruction on the recorder and then choose an instrument starting in fifth grade; in Upper School they can opt to study guitar. Our bands and choruses are featured regularly at school assemblies. We also offer two levels of jazz band in Upper School, and our Jazz Band has earned several gold medals in recent regional jazz competitions.
Theater is also a staple of the curriculum at Applewild. It is a powerful way for students to develop sensitivity toward others and perspective on our common humanity in addition to developing greater comfort presenting in front of groups. Through sixth grade students participate in drama class and take part in at least one theatrical performance a year. The drama program’s emphasis is on acting and improvisation, and Upper School students (grades 7 – 8) can audition for the winter play each year. There are four semester long Performing Arts mini-courses that everyone takes in grades 7 & 8. The mini-courses are Scene study, Music in Theater, Improvisation, and Music Lab. Art Mentor and Furniture Mentor programs are also offered during a sport semester.
A unique endowment, the Marshall Fund for the Arts, funds an artist-in-residence program each year. Both students and faculty learn a wide range of additional art, poetry, and music from practicing artists. These supplement our already rich curriculum in the visual and performing arts and often are purposefully integrated into other curricula such as science and English.
All of these artistic pursuits reflect the school’s commitment to fostering personal exploration, growth, and expression in its students. These elements – far from frills at Applewild – are integral parts of our comprehensive education.
Applewild’s physical education and athletic programs offer yet another way for students to explore and realize their potential. The programs are designed to encourage healthy living, physical fitness, teamwork, sportsmanship, self-confidence, and leadership skills. All of our students participate in these programs regularly each week throughout their time at Applewild.
In their initial years at school, students participate in physical education to learn games, promote fitness, improve physical dexterity and motor skills, and encourage cooperation and good sportsmanship. Sports activities for Lower School students range from ball-handling skills, games, track and field activities, hiking, sledding, archery, soccer, field hockey, basketball and lacrosse.
As they mature, students participate in a range of competitive and non-competitive sports and activities. Interscholastic teams are offered, beginning in 6th Grade and are required for one or two seasons. Interscholastic sports include field hockey for girls and soccer and cross country running (boys and girls) in the fall, boys and girls basketball in the winter, and boys and girls lacrosse in the spring. Coaches are expected to play all members of their team, though not always equally. A no-cut policy means that all students are guaranteed participation on a team.
Upper School students can elect physical education for one season. We offer varied lifelong sports and fitness activities, including climbing on our climbing wall, volleyball, judo, hiking, skiing, orienteering, and more.
In addition to physical education and interscholastic sports, our program includes a thorough health curriculum. Topics include safety, nutrition, and cleanliness in the younger grades and gradually introduce peer relationships and the importance of appropriate choices related to alcohol, drugs and sexual activity to older students.
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