The arts hold a special place at Oakwood, and that history goes back over fifty years. Pinewood School, Oakwood’s sister school in Los Altos, began as an afterschool arts program. As students learned to see their world from new angles – by performing, singing and dancing on stage, as well as by painting, drawing and sculpting – their performance improved in all areas of their education.
Today, that philosophy shines through more vibrantly than ever. Students from kindergarten through twelfth grade study drama, take part in plays and musicals, and learn a variety of increasingly complex visual arts techniques. The results speak volumes. Our students express themselves confidently, respectfully and vividly, not only with their peers, but with adults. This ability gives them an advantage when they enter college – and for the rest of their lives.
The main objective of the theater experience is to develop students’ communication skills. No other experience better instills self-confidence than presenting oneself well in front of an audience and receiving deserved praise. Every student in first through fifth grade participates in a well-rehearsed, finely tuned, annual class play. Upper school students, too, have the opportunity to participate in various theater classes and electives. Directors train students in the effective use of voice, face, and body in order to represent oneself dynamically. These communication skills and the resulting self-confidence are invaluable assets for life.
Lifelong enjoyment of music begins with experiencing the joy of music through personal expression at a young age. An array of age-appropriate songs and dances, as well as performance on percussion instruments and recorders, enrich the school day in Oakwood’s early grades. Upper school students participate in music elective courses that continue to develop students’ vocal and musical skills. Students learn the basic elements of reading music, using music vocabulary, singing on pitch, and participating in performances that foster presentation skills and self-confidence.
The arts curriculum promotes visual literacy while providing an opportunity for students to discover their own unique style, artistic impression, and creativity. Designated art rooms and expert art instructors provide settings that allow students a venue for creative exploration. Students learn to draw and paint, in addition to learning about master artists, artistic techniques and styles, and art vocabulary. These core skills help improve artistic capabilities and provide the necessary background for students to formulate and express opinions about their own work, their peers’ work, and the work of the masters.
To see how we approach Art, Music and Drama at each grade level, please see more detailed information in each school division's curriculum under Our Program.