The Arts Assembly, a 30-year-old Country School tradition, began with an opera overture by Verdi. As the music crescendoed, second graders filled the stage and first graders took over the floor in front. Each grade then performed a dance they created.
Behind this exuberant celebration of childhood exists layers of learning by students, including building vocabulary to work together and share ideas, stretching creativity, developing an understanding of physical and spatial awareness, improvisation and choreography.
“We had a lot of ideas that we had to mix together and piece into a dance,” said second grader Clare O’Brien. “Did we want partners? When would we enter?”
Performing Arts and Rhythms Teacher Jack Alrich considered himself a guide through the process. “It’s completely all them,” he said. “When it works best, it looks like recess with an organizational force behind it.”
This year, Mr. Alrich collaborated with School Psychologist Rebecca Comizio to help students connect to the music emotionally and gain a deeper understanding of their own feelings. Using the Mood Meter, which characterizes feelings into color quadrants, students plotted how the music made them feel. “At this age, many children express their emotions more fully through art and dance and play,” said Mrs. Comizio. "That is why the arts assembly was so meaningful for them - it was learning that was fun!"
“I danced in a red way,” said Justin Mouzon, referring to the quadrant of the mood meter that symbolizes high energy and stress. “I created a wind chopper with my body.”