Specialists

Exploring Potential

Art and music, Innovation Lab and phy ed, each day every student has the opportunity to grow and learn in our specialist classes. Our specialist teachers get to know each child as an individual – our students work with the same teacher as they move from preschool up to fifth grade. The teachers provide unique, hands-on experiences, inviting students to explore and innovate, all while having fun.

"My daughter's passion and God-given talents in the arts were uncovered by the fantastic teachers at Minnehaha."

Parent of a kindergarten student

Music

Kindergarten students play music

At Minnehaha Academy, our students become music makers, find joy in making music, and develop the tools to be savvy creators and consumers of music. Most importantly, students inspire each other with the development of their gifts, and bring glory to God while making music with their friends!

We know that participating in music helps develop language and reasoning, increases coordination, and gives children a sense of achievement. Becoming a music maker also builds imagination and intellectual curiosity, as well as instills habits of discipline. 

Your child will reap all these benefits, while having a great time in music class! From singing alone and with others to playing a variety of instruments, your child will learn to play drums, unpitched percussion, recorders, and barred instruments (like xylophones). In addition to performing, they will learn to listen and respond to music and describe aspects of what they hear. 

While all students participate in music from PK-5, they also have the option to start a band or orchestra instrument in fifth grade. Those interested in starting a stringed instrument prior to this can attend the Suzuki program, which takes place before school for grades 1-4.

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." Parent of a first grader

Library

The wide world of books awaits your child in our imaginative and delightful library. Storybooks come to life in a full size hobbit house built just for cozying up with a good book.

Our librarians use their creativity to transform the library into a place of wonder for children (and even parents!). Sometimes walking into the library it feels as if you are stepping through the coat closet into Narnia, while other times it feels as if you've just had a Kansas tornado send you all the way to Oz.

But the library experience is more than meets the eye. Our librarians Ms. Besser and Mr. Nelson deeply understand the power of books. "Each time a child asks me for a book recommendation and we walk the stacks together, I pray for the wisdom to pick a book for that particular child that will ignite a powerful spark of curiosity inside of them." Through the process of reading and reflection, children are encouraged to pursue their interests and discover knowledge and wisdom. 

Additionally, as your child grows in their reading and comprehension skills, our librarians will track their progress. This information is provided to your child's teacher and together they will guide and grow your child as they continue on their reading journey.

"Each time a child asks me for a book recommendation and we walk the stacks together, I pray for the wisdom to pick a book for that particular child that will ignite a powerful spark of curiosity inside of them."

-Ms. Besser, Librarian

Phy Ed

Phy ed is about more than sports or exercise…we want your child to develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence to live a physically active life. 

Our Lower School students explore a wide range of physical movement, from ice skating to rugby, basketball to cricket. Fun, high energy classes foster a love for movement and seek to nurture students of all skill levels.

Your child will be encouraged to try new activities, set movement goals for themselves, and grow in their skills. Most importantly, they will learn the joy of encouraging others and the power of teamwork.

A boy jumps rope with two other girls.
A Different Kind of Fitness Program

Nurturing Life-Long Physical Wellness

Instead asking all students to meet a static set of standards, our fitness program in Phy Ed class focuses on self-assessment and personal goal setting.

“I talk with students about finding the right amount of challenge that fits them,” says Phy Ed Instructor Jordan Fitch. "Too little challenge and students won’t grow. Too much challenge and they become discouraged. As they learn to listen to their bodies and set achievable but challenging goals, students develop a skill that can nurture life-long physical wellness."

Innovation Lab

Design a bridge and then code small robots to cross it. Build a solar oven. Plan and then construct a table made of only paper and tape that can sustain the weight of multiple reference volumes. 

These are just a few of the challenges Lower School students face throughout the school year in one of the school's most loved classes: Innovation Lab. 

Elementary school students learn code

Uniquely Minnehaha:
Innovation Lab

 

Spanish

Lower School is the perfect time to introduce a new language to curious minds.  Your child will begin to learn the basics of Spanish as they adopt common words and phrases, learning through song, role play, books and guided reading.  Their confidence will develop as they speak, read, write and listen, and apply their skills through conversations and performances. 

In Lower School, students in Spanish also learn about different cultures and traditions, opening up the world before them and preparing them for future language study in Middle School. 

Art

During their time in the Lower School, students 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.

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