The arts are a critical venue for adolescents to process their experiences and development. Adolescents are highly expressive when provided a safe environment and professional mentors. At The Element, a variety of arts are available to the students based on their interests. The interdisciplinary nature of The Element, as well as its flexibility, allows students to integrate the arts into their other courses. Art clubs are run based on student interest.
Students participate in an intensive five-week dramatic study. This annual session culminates in a 40 to 60 minute theatrical production with matinee and evening performances. Working with a professional director, all students learn lines and practice staging. Students are also responsible for all the technical aspects of the production. In groups, they develop the sets, props, lighting and sound, costumes, publicity and programs.
Students participate in a weekly guitar lesson with a professional musician. The lessons are broken into four different levels – beginner, intermediate, intermediate-advanced and advanced. Students have additional time to practise the guitar during their Independent Work Periods so it is common to see a group of 3 or 4 students playing guitar in a “cabin”. This makes for great background music!
Music is also an integrated part of the program. For example, students often use their musical skills to enhance the annual theatrical production.
Art is integrated into the six e1 sessions in different ways. We often teach students about culture through art. For example, during the Asian unit of study, students participate in an oriental painting and calligraphy workshop led by a professional artist. In the African unit of study, they work with an artist from Sudan, who specialized in masks and acrylic painting.
In addition to participating in formal art workshops that complement a session, art is used to enhance math and sciences throughout the year. For examples, students will be asked to design and build an art piece inspired by 3D geometry or create a 3D cell model.
At The Element, we see music, drama and art as an integral part of the day and we encourage students to explore their individual areas of interest.