It is well documented that children's intellectual and emotional development is enhanced through the study of arts. At the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS), Arts are essential in our multifaceted, well-rounded education.
The WISS curriculum is built on four pillars: Academics, Sports, Arts, and Community Service. As a school, we believe that all students have the potential to develop creatively. We provide them with opportunities to function as artists and learners of the arts. Learning about and through arts is fundamental to the development of the whole child, promoting the ability to think creatively and critically. Creative thinking encourages students to explore the unfamiliar and experiment innovatively to develop their artistic intentions, processes, and work.
Art education nourishes and stimulates imagination by giving students the tools to understand and interpret the world around them. The Western International School of Shanghai is dedicated to nurturing student development through Creative Arts, fostering balanced learning and harmonious self-development. In the Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) offered at WISS, Arts are identified as Visual Arts and Performing Arts (Music and Drama). Within the Middle Years Programme, students experience a new way to approach Arts, enhancing the study of all disciplines. All art disciplines are distinct but are also linked in various ways and enrich each other. Our curriculum is designed in such a way as to allow Creative Arts students to rotate quarterly between Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts programmes. This rotation benefits students as they are exposed to the various art programmes and can experience Arts from different perspectives.
At the end of the rotation period, students participate in 'Creative Arts Sharing,'; an event where students are offered the opportunity to showcase the concepts and skills they acquired and celebrate their achievements, talents, and growth as young artists and performers. Within these art disciplines, the theme 'Power in Art' is explored concerning well-being, identity, and promoting awareness of social and global issues.
In the Music Programme, students investigate songs that convey messages of emotions and social and global issues aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They then form bands and collaborate to choose and perform a song. While doing so, students can explore and develop their musical skills and techniques on their chosen instrument.
In our Theatre Programme, students explore the 'Power of Art' by collaborating on vocal exercises, mime, and physical theatre. Students also explore their own identities and relationships by devising scenes and characters. All this exploration help prepare students for a final class performance.
In the Visual Arts Programme, students investigate the 'Power of Art' by exploring compositional elements such as color, line techniques, and mapping to draw objects with natural portions, all within the context of conveying what is powerful about one's identity. For the final sharing, visual art students will present their artwork and offer an opportunity for questions from peers and teachers.
In addition to Visual Arts, Drama, and Music, WISS offers co-curricular activities throughout the school year, creating abundant opportunities for students to perform or produce and experience art from the audience's perspective and as an artist. Moreover, the WISS Instrumental Program offers sophisticated and professional music learning opportunities for students led by expert music instructors.
Arts education provides students with the multi-dimensional 21st-century skills and abilities needed for success: critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, creativity, and innovation.
Contributed by Colin Mosher, (Head of Arts) Western International School of Shanghai.
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