The Summit offers many opportunities for self-expression and the development of artistic awareness and discernment to meet the standards set in the artistic pillar of its mission. But it doesn’t just happen in Art class. The arts are integrated throughout the fabric of the curriculum and in opportunities for writing, performance and a broad variety of creative works.
Public speaking, theatrical performances and small-group collaboration projects develop communication and social skills critical to long term academic success. Each classroom in the Montessori School has an area dedicated to the visual arts, designed to develop the child’s awareness of color and design. Enrichment activities allow students to go beyond academic curriculum and engage in higher-level thinking while they explore music, fine art and performance. Kindergarten students may choose to participate in private violin and piano lessons from teachers who are accomplished musicians. Special events give students opportunities to make crafts, music and costumes. Musical and dramatic productions in Kyte Theater help students develop stage presence at an early age. The Orff Schulwerk music approach taps into children’s natural instincts to make music through active participation.
The Lower School is a sunny and open environment where budding artists have great tools at their disposal including a professional kiln, a music studio and access to the school theater. The Fine Arts Program focuses on the process of artistic growth. Students learn to be problem solvers and risk takers as they express their originality and creativity through art and art criticism. Art students place well and frequently win various regional, state and national competitions. Musical and dramatic productions enhance their confidence. Students can opt for private violin and piano lessons taught by professional musicians. The Orff Schulwerk music approach expands on the Montessori introduction. The Summit’s widely-praised Writing Program teaches mechanics and develops research skills.
Kyte Theater is the venue for many school performances at the Middle School, including the 8th grade play. The Summit gives teachers considerable freedom to purchase developmentally appropriate supplies and resources to support the arts. Visual arts include drawing, painting, batik, printmaking, sculpture, puppetry, photography, architecture and animation. Music offerings are expanded in vocal performance, band and general music where students strengthen listening skills, and study music history and theory. All students are introduced to band in fifth grade and can study an instrument in earnest in the sixth grade. The band performs for various events and every year has auditions at the annual District Honors Band and Honors Orchestra award ceremonies. The Writing Program emphasizes mastery of the three to five paragraph essay. Students have performed well in the Power of the Pen creative writing competition and some have become published authors.
At the Upper School, the comprehensive Fine Arts Program includes Graphic Design, AP Portfolio, Photography, Sculpture, AP Music Theory, a vocal performance a cappella choral repertoire, ensemble singing techniques, instrumental music and theater arts. Students are encouraged to explore real life experiences through personal expression. In the process, students not only accumulate necessary information and skills, but they also produce tangible end products that are couched within real world connections. Students can join the vocal group Camerata, which performs around the country and occasionally in Europe. Outside performers often demonstrate diverse forms of artistic expression. Students also can explore artistic expression through photography, band, the Power of the Pen competition or the Chapel Talks oratory program. The Summit’s hallmark Writing Program, which fuses time-tested approaches that start in kindergarten, delivers college-level composition writing in their senior year. The rigorous four-year SOLIEL oratory program culminates in Chapel Talks where every student works collaboratively with a faculty member to compose and deliver a personal reflection to the school community.