Opening Eyes to the Arts at Minnehaha Academy
Minnehaha is well known for its high-quality fine arts program and exceptional faculty. We design our courses to foster a love of the arts and encourage each child’s creativity.
Starting in preschool, students at Minnehaha Academy participate in engaging specialist art and music classes on a weekly basis. Our specialist teachers get to know each child as an individual – our students have the opportunity to work with the same teacher as they move from preschool up to fifth grade. The teachers provide unique, hands-on experiences invite students to dive into the world of the arts and explore various avenues of personal expression.
"My daughter's passion and God-given talents in the arts were uncovered by the fantastic art teachers at Minnehaha."
- Current parent of a kindergarten student
During their time in the Lower School, students sing, draw, paint, sculpt, weave and make pottery.
Preschool students begin by building their knowledge of the foundations of art in interactive, hands-on classes. They discover how they can use line, shape and color together to create art. As students grow, teachers build on this foundation to enhance their understanding and build their skills.
Even our youngest artists have access to a variety of artistic tools and resources. One highlight of the year is the Empty Bowls Project. Preschool to fifth grade students make bowls out of clay – shaping, glazing and painting them. They are then fired in our kiln. The students sell their bowls to the Minnehaha community. Proceeds from this sale go to help those in need through the Sheridan Story Project. It’s just one way the students learn how they can use the gifts they have been given to give back to the community and help others.
"Because of the wonderful music program at MA, I have seen my normally quiet, reserved son burst out of his shell. It is a very special thing to have your child’s potential cultivated in such a personal and uplifting way."
- Current parent of a first grader
Lower School specialist teachers provide an exceptional musical foundation for children beginning in preschool. They teach singing, encourage the exploration of a variety of instruments, incorporate movement and introduce the very basics of music theory.
Exposure to different musical cultures and traditions is important at Minnehaha. Students learn world drumming from our certified specialist teachers. We also have a resident musical artist who visits Minnehaha each year for several weeks. Students have fun as they spend several weeks dancing, singing and playing instruments from a specific traditional music culture.
At the end of their fourth grade year, students may choose an instrument. As fifth graders, they continue their general music class and they also attend a weekly lesson with the Middle School band or orchestra teacher and attend a weekly practice session with the entire band or orchestra.
All students have multiple opportunities to get comfortable on stage with performances planned throughout the year for family and friends.
As students develop their musical and artistic knowledge base, they are provided with new opportunities to mix art and music in innovative ways.
Students in fourth and fifth grade create an art piece in the style of a master artist. Then they create music that speaks to the mood and message of the art they created. This innovative curricula captures the imaginations of our students, encouraging them to think about art and music in new ways – opening doors for further exploration and mastery as they move on to Middle School.