At Beacon, every student attends classes in studio art, music, and movement at least as frequently as once per week for each discipline, as appropriate for their age. Beacon takes that instruction further by infusing the arts curriculum throughout the education program. Every Beacon student receives hundreds of hours of arts instruction each and every year.
Research shows that art experience enhances academic growth and discovery, provides new outlets for ideas and feelings, develops intuitive and creative abilities, provides opportunities to work together for one outcome, and builds critical thinking skills. The arts train students to be nimble innovators, allowing new ideas to flourish. The confidence gained from performing a well-practiced piece on stage transfers directly to confidence in the academic classroom.
Formal music and dance/movement classes with a specialist teacher begins in kindergarten. Studio art classes begin in kindergarten, and art history is incorporated in the elementary grades. In Middle School, students incorporate drama, music history, and chorus in their music instruction.
In grades 2-5, Beacon students memorize 4-5 poetry selections each trimester and present them in poetry recitals. Over time, each child learns a treasury of 60 poems they have personally memorized and have been exposed to 300 more delivered by their classmates. In Middle School, this activity takes the form of a poetry slam or urban expression in which students also present original work.
- Memorization, especially when it has meaning as opposed to memorization of facts or times tables, enhances mindfulness and attention, reinforces short- and long-term memory functions, and stimulates all language centers in the brain.
- The text of poetry and famous speeches provides a perfect vocabulary-building lesson.
- A rich assortment of text choices helps students find personal meaning in the messages. Over the years this treasury of thought may be well visited in search of comfort or entertainment.