The Peabody visual art program is geared toward developing each K-8 student’s authentic artistic skills, as well as nurturing problem solving, fostering creativity, and learning to see the world as an artist. Peabody seeks to develop a supportive community of artists that helps each other take risks.
Throughout the program, large-concept questions such as “Why do people create art?” “How is the definition of art always changing?” “How do artists get their ideas?” and “How can art affect change in the world?” are discussed. Each project is designed to engage and excite students while developing confidence in their abilities as artists. Students also focus on developing an original voice as an artist.
In Kindergarten, students begin with story-based art projects that move quickly and encourage creativity. As students progress through the elementary program, they are introduced to a variety of obscure, contemporary, and well-known artists while studying the basics of line, color, shape and form, texture, space, value, balance and symmetry, emphasis, movement, unity and contrast. Classes move fluidly between projects that encourage representational skill building as well as creativity in abstraction.
As students enter middle school, they enter the choice-based Arts & Enrichment program, which is designed to build off the foundation learned in elementary classes to delve deep into specific mediums. Students learn to tell their stories in classes such as Sculpture, Graphic Design, Plein Air Painting, Murals, Painting, Representational Drawing, Printmaking, and Claymation. The Peabody art program engages students while building art skills, developing critical thinking, and fostering a love for art.
The PreK-5 Drama program at Peabody is designed to create a safe and fun environment where students feel inspired to take risks and tackle challenging and ambitious material. Students explore stories, theater history, and issues in the world around them while learning theatrical techniques in acting, playwriting, directing, and design elements. Students work on a series of projects, over which they gradually assume more responsibility as they grow in confidence and develop their imaginations and skills in group work.
Students in grades K-1 take part in small-scale performances, while students in grades 2-5 have the opportunity to take part in the main school production. Middle School students take Drama as part of Peabody’s Arts & Enrichment program, and may choose from classes such as Musical Theater, Stage Design, Improv, and Scripted Performance.
In grades PreK-5, Peabody students experience music through listening, playing, singing and moving. Elementary music at Peabody is based on a learning-through-doing model influenced by an Orff educational approach. The K-4 classes sing and play percussion, xylophones, and drums. Music exposure through in-class listening and discussion is another staple of the PreK-5 music curriculum. Students in grades 2-5 also learn basic chords, melodies, scales, and repertoire on ukulele. By the end of 5th grade all Peabody musicians have a strong foundation in rhythm, melody, song form, music notation, and ensemble playing.
In middle school the students have a wide variety of options to choose from in order to meet their musical requirement. They may take a more traditional route through ensemble classes such as Strings, Band, or Chorus, or they may choose from several Music Enrichment classes including Songwriting, Mixed Ensemble, Sound Recording & Production, and Percussion Ensemble.
Each year the music program puts on the K-5 Talent Show in the winter and the Middle School Cabaret in the spring. These performance opportunities afford fans a glimpse into the Peabody musical process. In the past, middle school students have traveled to Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion to compete against regional music groups, and are also given opportunities to perform throughout the community of Charlottesville as part of their service learning.