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MCS derives strong expression of its values through the arts. Classrooms and common areas exhibit children’s paintings, drawings, shop and ceramic projects, and textiles woven at the Farm. Art classes are required for students through 6th grade; then electives offer broader choices.
The visual arts program stresses the individual, imaginative, and artistic potential of each child and encourages the development of self-confidence, self-discovery, and self-expression. Activities include drawing, painting, clay, collage, print making, fabric arts, and other crafts. The art teacher also collaborates on classroom projects, and visits to museums are routine. Backdrops for plays, watercolors depicting trips to the Farm or Central Park’s Conservatory Garden, and sculptures relating to cultural and current events are widely displayed.
Students through 6th grade attend art classes in half groups once a week. Art is one of the required electives for 7th and 8th graders. Those applying to specialized art high schools are given additional individual guidance and instruction in preparing their portfolios.
Choral singing is integral to assemblies held at Thanksgiving, to celebrate winter festivals of light (Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Three Kings’ Day, and the Solstice), the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and the end of the school year. The selections represent a variety of cultures and musical styles. Folk, classical, jazz, and contemporary songs are programmed alongside freedom songs that embody the school’s history and spirit.
The music curriculum supports children’s natural love of music. In the 4-5s through 7-8s, class time is given equally to singing and movement. Children progress from unison singing to rounds and four-part harmony. The 8-9s through the 8th grade have choral singing and are conducted by a choral director with the assistance of a professional accompanist. The 8-9s and 9-10s take recorder as well. Music electives include a singing ensemble, instrumental workshops, and African drumming.
Drama is integrated into daily classroom lessons. Dramatic play is a favorite choice among young children, while older students enjoy dramatic presentations as a method of sharing knowledge gained through their curriculum. The 8th grade graduation play represents the students’ parting gift to the MCS community.
Woodworking instruction prepares students to be competent in the basic measurement and design skills of carpentry. They gain experience in the practical use of hand and power tools, work with wood and Plexiglas, and use paper and pencil and computer design programs. Once competent in basic techniques, children may choose to develop their own constructions or work from models. A yearly exhibit of projects-in-progress is a much anticipated event.