In support of Chapin’s philosophy to educate the whole child, the Lower School curriculum offers many opportunities in the arts, music, physical education, foreign language, library, and technology.
Creativity through the arts is an essential component of the educational process. Students are imaginative by nature and create works of art through drawing and painting, constructing and manipulating, molding and building. The Chapin art program is designed to encourage, teach, support, and enhance the techniques and skills needed to foster life-long creativity and appreciation of the arts.
We emphasize process by building on the skills learned the preceding year. Printmaking, painting, drawing, pottery, collage, weaving, and paper maché are explored at each grade level. Art vocabulary, techniques and skills are presented with each medium and we work closely with grade level and subject matter teachers to extend and enrich their curricula. Through these processes students learn to think creatively, employ critical thinking skills, express ideas and come to recognize and appreciate the aesthetic qualities inherent in art.
Based on the understanding that all children are musical, and that music is a way of knowing and understanding one’s self and the world, the Chapin School music curriculum employs a sequential and developmentally appropriate curriculum, which nurtures in students the qualities of self expression through music, cooperation with others to create and perform music and a lifelong appreciation and enjoyment of music.
Central to the music curriculum are the fundamental music processes in which humans engage: performing, creating and responding to music. Through these activities, students learn to think creatively, employ critical thinking skills and come to recognize and appreciate the aesthetic qualities inherent in music. Emphasis is also placed on music literacy, providing students an important tool with which they can explore music independently and with others. Finally, because music is reflective of human culture, students are exposed to a diversity of musical styles; are led to understand music’s relationship to history, culture and units of study in other academic disciplines; and are given the tools to make informed musical judgments throughout their lives.
Third and fourth grade students participate in a chorus.
The physical education program at Chapin revolves around the joys and benefits of movement. Beginning in prekindergarten and continuing through fourth grade students participate in an exercise program designed to challenge each student, improve strength, flexibility, agility, speed and endurance. Age appropriate activities, games, skills and sports are introduced to enhance the student's physical, social and emotional development. Good sportsmanship, fair play, doing one's best and respect for self and others are stressed and encouraged throughout the athletic program. Beginning in fourth grade, students can participate in the coed cross country program.
Spanish (Beginning in Kindergarten)
Neurological research has proven that beginning foreign language instruction early can lead to higher levels of proficiency. The brain is actually primed to learn language at younger ages because the neural pathways are open to hearing and speaking many languages. Being bilingual or trilingual does not adversely affect cognitive development. Many studies suggest just the opposite, that learning another language can increase cognitive function and even aid in the process of learning to read. This is the basic underlying rationale for starting language instruction as early as possible.
Chapin’s foreign language program is based on the belief that learning a foreign language is an essential component of the learning experience for several reasons. First, it is important to engender and develop an appreciation of communicating in a foreign language so that our students will acquire a heightened sensitivity to and a deeper knowledge of their own language. As research has illustrated, learning another language, especially if it is begun at an early age, also further develops the higher-order critical thinking skills, which students will need in order to succeed at the secondary school level. Moreover, in an ever-increasingly multicultural world, we want to expose our students from kindergarten through the eighth grade to aural and written Spanish and French as a key to gaining access to invaluable insights into the characteristics, values and customs of Spanish- and French- speaking peoples.
The Technology Curriculum seeks to ensure student success by supporting the integration of curriculum and technology in a way that encourages conversation, innovation and developmentally appropriate educational practices. It challenges students and teachers to develop new strategies and skills in meaningful applications. Educators become facilitators in this process, which creates an atmosphere that values the individual, encourages critical thinking and supports the idea that by working together, students become productive members of our global community.
The Margaret Ann Young Library prepares members of the Chapin community to be effective users of information. The library program develops critical thinking and reasoning and communication skills. Offering carefully selected materials, we support a variety of interests and abilities. The ongoing development of the collection reinforces and deepens the curriculum, and supports students in their exploration of the world.