We Give Students the Tools to Create
Art, shop, band, chorus, and drama are just as essential to an Applewild education as math, social studies, science, and language arts. We recognize that the arts are an integral part of every child’s emotional and intellectual development, so we’ve created spaces where our students have the opportunity to actively create and express themselves.
Applewild students have the confidence to try new things, because they understand that they will be supported by their peers and teachers along the way. They often find that with a little confidence and a little practice, something that used to be daunting can turn into a personal strength. When our students develop a passion for a subject, they have the resources and instruction to delve deeply into that subject, whether it falls under the umbrella of academics or the arts.
Because understanding the tools and context of every discipline is important, our arts curriculum includes studies of theory and history. But at its core, the curriculum is about doing and making. Hands-on and active creativity is one of the many ways that we keep school engaging. And it doesn’t end in art class: the arts are often incorporated into our academic classes and broader school life as well.
With our emphasis on the arts in and out of the classroom, we encourage our students to develop imaginative and original approaches to problems and to express their ideas in creative ways. It’s no surprise that our students often go on to be leaders in the arts at their secondary schools and creative thinkers and problem-solvers in everyday life.
As part of our visual arts curriculum, students learn about and engage in painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, ceramics, photography, weaving, three-dimensional construction, and more. Our specialist teachers are well equipped to instruct students in technique, but art projects at Applewild always have an element of personal creativity. We want our students to understand their own process as artists, creators, and lifelong learners.
In art, like everything at Applewild, interested students have the opportunity to delve deeper. Starting in the seventh grade, students who are passionate about the visual arts can elect to participate in our art mentor program (which includes a video mentor option), in which students work closely with our art teacher to design and create a unique and original artwork or project over the course of a season.
All of our students participate in shop class and by the time they get to the Upper School, they are able to plan and execute complicated projects of their own. Our woodshop program teaches basic woodworking and handiwork skills that are useful in everyday life, as well as power tool use and more complex woodworking techniques in the later grades. At all levels, our students learn precision and attention-to-detail in a hands-on, safe environment.
Just as students interested in the visual arts can try our art mentor program, students interested in shop have the opportunity to work closely with our shop teacher in our shop mentor program. Students in this program design and build complex and expertly finished projects and some have even won awards at the Mount Wachusett Community College regional high school furniture show.
Starting in kindergarten, our students participate in theater productions in our professionally equipped theater. Students learn about acting techniques, playwriting, and set design as well as practicing the more general skills of memorization and comfort in public expression. All of our students have important roles in our plays and all have the opportunity to take on lead roles as early as the 3rd grade, when students lead their younger peers in the K–3 play.
Our students become more and more adept and at ease in public communication, so that by the time they reach the eighth grade, they are ready to craft and deliver their own speeches in front of the entire school in our annual Eleanor Crow Public Speaking Competition.
When C. T. Crocker III donated his family home to start Applewild in 1957, he imagined “a school full of voices, of happiness, of music.” More than 60 years later, Applewild students still love making music, from kindergarten through eighth grade. Students K–3 sing in the Appleseed Chorus and learn about rhythm and notes playing Orff instruments designed for young children. In fourth grade, students join the recorder band, and in fifth grade, each student chooses a musical instrument to play in our symphonic band. Choral music continues in a separate program in grades 4–8. Our Upper-Schoolers have the opportunity to join the Jazz Gems and our award-winning jazz band if they are passionate about instrumental music. None of our students has to choose between singing in the chorus and playing in the band. In fact, most choose to participate in both all the way through the eighth grade.
The Marshall Fund for the Creative Arts
Through the Marshall Fund, Applewild invites artists-in-residence to inspire creativity and work directly with our students. Visual artists, dancers, puppeteers, and musicians have visited Applewild, and their residencies have enriched our arts curriculum by providing additional hands-on learning experiences for our children.
Residencies often culminate in the completion of works of art created by the whole community, many of which are on display throughout our campus. Learning at Applewild is active, in the classroom and out.