Specials Classes Curriculum Overview
Our enrichment curriculum is an extension of the academic components in our school. Students are able to enjoy Spanish, Media, Computer Applications, Physical Education, Performing Arts, STEM offerings, and Visual Arts starting in Kindergarten and going through the 8th grade. We believe that exposure to all of these areas helps children tap into a richer and more wholistic world view of learning and experiences.
Spanish language instruction, beginning in Kindergarten.
Bi-weekly visual arts classes grounded in art history and theory for all grade levels.
Bi-weekly music classes for all grade levels, with a Symphonic Band program beginning in fifth grade.
Choir ensemble starts in 4th grade.
Each year, grades 4-8 participate in the planning and acting in a musical production.
A rich technology education program, beginning in Kindergarten.
Ridgewood strives to have a top notch visual and performing arts program because:
1. We believe artistic and creative expression are fundamental pillars to a well-rounded child.
2. Study of and participation in the arts give children hands-on experience of collaboration, listening, and understanding differences.
3. Life does not exist in a silo, and so, at Ridgewood we integrate visual and performing arts in every way possible.
4. Theatre and Dance promote psychological health & maturity.
5. Children are more productive learners when given the opportunity to dance, sing and play.
Exploration of world culture, history, and tradition are included at every level at Ridgewood. Students at all grade levels take music and art classes twice weekly.
In grades 4-8, students further their musical growth by participating in performance ensembles. Grade 4 focuses on vocal music. Grade 5 continues vocal music development and introduces Beginning Band. Grades 6-8 continue instrumental music advancing in Band with on-going vocal development opportunities in Winter musical performance. The discipline required to prepare a performance concert as a full ensemble allows each student to find a sense of accomplishment and recognize growth. Our performance events throughout the year provide a sound educational experience and serve as a source of intrinsic motivation for students to pursue musical excellence and skills.
Each year since Ridgewood’s founding, Upper Level students collaborate with our visual and performing arts faculty to produce the Winter Musical. In this Ridgewood tradition, students find their place on the stage, on the technical crew, as student directors and choreographers.
Graduation and the Passing of Classes
Beginning in the Kindergarten year, Ridgewood students take Spanish classes as part of the standard curriculum. At the Lower Level (K-4), Spanish is offered as a once a week Special Class, focusing on both vocabulary growth and cultural understanding. In the Upper Level it is offered twice a week, Spanish is a core content class.
During the 5th and 6th grades, students complete the equivalent of Spanish I; during 7th and 8th grades, students complete the coursework for Spanish II. Most Ridgewood graduates feel comfortable entering Year III of high school foreign language.
Upper Level students enjoy traditions and foods from Spanish Speaking cultures through field trip experiences and classroom visitors.
In the library, students get to know the wide variety of books in the Ridgewood collection, as well as develop their library skills. We work on research, literacy skills, and discovering new books through many activities. These activities include book talks, reading aloud together, class discussions on particular books, topics, and genres, and more. Students can check out their own books each week as they explore the collection of picture, fiction, and nonfiction books.
In computer, students get to know the wide variety of technological tools in order to develop and cultivate their digital literacy skills. The Computer Curriculum includes exploration of computational functions in a manner to increase the students’ comfort level and adeptness in navigating on the computer. In addition, Ridgewood’s Acceptable Use Policy and technology issues impacting ethics are reinforced. Currently, the following software programs and resources are used for instructional purposes: Canva, the Google Apps for Education Suite, Scratch, Code.org, Common Sense Digital Media, Tinkercad, and age-appropriate web-based resources.
Students actively explore sports, games, and activities that allow them to have fun while being active. They are challenged to be hands-on in certain activities and discover their own creativity. They are encouraged to have fun and are taught the values of good sportsmanship and participation. By the end of their eighth-grade year, Physical Education emphasizes refinement of skills learned in the previous grade. A greater understanding of game strategies is developed. Continued emphasis is placed on good sportsmanship, personal responsibility, and attaining a higher level of personal fitness. Daily warm-ups include cardio, stretching, and strength exercises (such as a jog followed by pushups, squats, and stretches). Proper form will be emphasized in all exercised and skills. Students will continue development of offense and defense and game strategy. They will get a deeper understanding of field positions and fielding games. They will show the ability to take turns being both a leader and a follower, while demonstrating patience and cooperation despite individual differences. Confidence in sports will be developing, and students will be encouraged to discuss their extracurricular sports.
Art in Kindergarten
The Kindergarten art curriculum is set to provide an experience of discovering materials, developing skills, and inventing new ways to create. Students will study fine art, artists, and illustrators. Study will be done with the use of “The Big Book”*, various children’s books, videos, and class instruction. Students will be given the opportunity to explore and manipulate materials: various types of paints, brushes, crayons, scissors, clay, found objects, multimedia, etc. They will demonstrate understanding of concepts through work produced.
First – Fifth grade Art curriculum focuses on six units in each grade level around a universal theme relevant to student’s lives. These themes foster meaningful connections to artwork across time and place. Elements and principles are embedded throughout each unit to ensure continual application and understanding.
Each unit theme is organized into three teaching and learning strands that explore specific aspects of the unit theme. Each strand includes two concept lessons, each with a studio, and an extended studio exploration with hands on, cumulative reinforcement of the two previous concept lessons.
Sixth through eighth grade curriculum is an opportunity for students to have their eyes and minds opened to the multi-faceted world of art. Not only will students learn a wealth of enriching information, they will also have ample opportunities to hone their artistic skills by putting theory into practice. Students will be guided on a path of personal discovery, and will learn new ways to appreciate and critically view art.
Students will study art as a discipline and learn about its many forms. They will discover how art plays a role in everyday life in cultures all around the world, and how and it can be used as a universal language to connect people. Students will study the creative processes that artists experience when producing artworks. They will delve into the reasons behind how and why artists choose specific subjects, themes, art forms, media, elements of art, and principles of design to include in their artworks.
Ridgewood School is fortunate to have award-winning teachers who are versed in various types of learning methods. The many academic achievements accomplished by our students is largely attributed to these educators, who, without a doubt, have our children’s best interests first and foremost in mind. Their commitment, coupled by that of our students, their parents, and the Ridgewood administration, is the key that unlocks the door that leads us all to “the light of learning.”
“I have to say in all honesty that Ridgewood has given our children everything we wanted and more. It is a safe and loving environment that has helped our children blossom and develop beautifully. The teachers and staff of Ridgewood School have played a very important role in our children’s lives, and we truly appreciate all of them.”
– Sangita Nezhad, Ridgewood parent, 2010