Upstairs Curriculum

About Upstairs A.R.T.S.

Older children (4-6 years) work upstairs in Academy A.R.T.S. The big open space inspires
children to move and to expand their personal space within self-controlled boundaries. A real theatre complete with lights, curtains and a professional dance floor helps prepare children in dance, music, production shop and cultural awareness for a number of performances throughout the year. The classes in art, creative movement, literature and physical fitness are more experiential; the art class has exhibits throughout the year. Every day upstairs is different and the class cycle is weekly.

On Fridays the older Downstairs children join Upstairs children to work in the Montessori and Science environments. This is very much a hands-on, self-directed day.

Our Upstairs A.R.T.S. program is available in the morning.

Cultural Awareness/Literature/Production Shop


Creative Movement, Art, Literature, and Physical Fitness are the components of our Experiential Days.  Our Production Days classes – Dance, Music,
Cultural Awareness and Production Shop – are focused on developing a
performance based on our themes.

Upstairs ART

Children are encouraged to think critically, to make aesthetic decisions, to express themselves, to use their imaginations, to communicate with their peers, and to develop fine motor skills. Building on their painting, drawing, cutting, folding and gluing skills, they will experience needlework, sculpture, papermaking, weaving and much more. As we create our projects we gain an appreciation of color and design. Many of our projects help us to understand and appreciate other cultures. Once all of us made a peace quilt which is on permanent display in the office. Back to Top…


Children explore space every day in creative movement.  Just as NASA activates all its resources to reach out and extend the boundaries of our knowledge of the universe, our students activate all their abilities to discover the parameters of their individual worlds.

The purpose of creative movement is to help your child feel, think, and act creatively through the development of locomotor skills, and the exploration of occupied and unoccupied space.  As teachers, our goal is to enhance each student’s personal ability to make creative choices and decisions for a lifetime approach to problem solving.

We sing a lot
• sometimes with recordings
• sometimes with our teacher
• usually together
and we even get to make up our own songs.

We do movement experiments
and make body sculptures alone and together.

We make up long movement sequences by putting together many
different ways of moving.

We work to discover solutions to movement “puzzles” our teacher gives us;
sometimes we need to really cooperate to solve the challenge.

We learn about weight, space, time, momentum, and balance.
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The Montessori environment offers children a place to learn by making independent choices.

The work the children do is in three traditional Montessori areas:
1)   practical life activities, which include learning to dress themselves, washing their hands, learning to do simple household chores such sweeping, scrubbing and simple cooking experiences;
2)  sensorial experiences, which use exercises to help children develop
the senses of smell, touch, vision, hearing and taste;
3)  the academic areas of math, science and language.

The children choose their own activities and are encouraged to follow them through, developing independence and self-confidence in the process.

After story time and a short creative movement sequence to introduce the day’s theme, the children are free to move to any of the three separate work areas.

In the science area the children can explore, make predictions, and perform simple experiments.  Included in this academic area are puzzle activities and games which develop math and language skills. The practical life area involves the children in simple housekeeping activities such as scrubbing, sweeping, and cooking.  The children set up their own washing station, wash their own hands, prepare their own snack and eat with a friend.  The construction area features a variety of large and small building materials allowing children to read schematic drawings, explore their creativity and learn important social skills. Back to Top…

Upstairs MUSIC

The children expand their repertory of songs and experiment with their own music.  Orff instruments are available for the children to use for experimentation with rhythm and melody.  We use call and response songs to teach children to hear their own voices and to sing together as a group.

The oldest children work on simple note reading and recognition skills, and the beginning elements of music theory.  They end the year by composing a short song as a group.

Musical activities using movement help children “feel” the beat of the music.  We encourage the children to develop new words for the songs they sing, new movements to the motor activities, and variations on the rhythmic patterns of the songs.

The children are also exposed to songs and musical instruments from around the world as well as classical music such as “Peter and the Wolf” and “The Nutcracker”. Back to Top…


Our class begins with a general warm-up to music; we include arm and leg isolations, light aerobics, and finish with jogging, skipping, and galloping.

We then have a circuit that each child completes twice.  The circuit contains stations around the room that offer progressively more challenging and complex physical activities for the child to explore – from the simplest efforts of pushing and pulling to the most difficult of forward rolls, jump rope and tug-of-war.  The last ten minutes of each class works on basic physical skills: log rolls, forward rolls, and large parallel jumps for vertical height and horizontal distance.  Many of our exercises build the upper-body strength necessary for the more difficult combination skills that your child may wish to learn when he/she is older.  There is a cool-down period before the class is over.

Our equipment is basic – mats, walking boards, jump ropes and bars for balancing and developing strength, timing and coordination.  We also use ropes, stair climbers, benches, pulleys, a pull-up bar, cross crawlers, duck walkers and buddy walkers. Back to Top…


From a child’s perspective we explore both the ancient and modern cultures of the world.  We investigate their art, dance, stories, festivals, music, games, food and clothing.  Through studying other peoples, we seek to develop an understanding of the beauty of our uniqueness.  Our goal is to encourage an appreciation for both the similarities and the rich diversity we share with all the peoples of the world.  For example, in developing a theme of “ Winter Solstice and New Years Celebration”, we study the planets and learn about the solstice. We also journey through stories, music and dances to places like Israel, China, Mexico and Africa to discover the origins and history of many of our own winter holiday traditions. Back to Top…


It all starts with a story.  Classic children’s stories offer the children the opportunity to experiment with various kinds of roles.  After the teacher reads a story, each child decides which part she/he would like to play.  The children act out the story using simple props and costumes.  Not only are they encouraged to develop and expand their character, but they learn that stories can be the beginning point for their own imaginations.  During the last five minutes of class the children draw a picture to help them share the story with their parents. Back to Top…


In preparation for their productions, the children make simple costume pieces, props and scenery.  In our two-year curriculum cycle the children will experience the construction of a recycling sculpture, a solar system, a Chinese dragonhead, and body parts – the heart, lungs and head.  We will also make a large African mask, a Hawaiian lei, a Japanese fan and much more.  Then best of all, what we have created comes to life in a Dragon dance, a Japanese song, or we even become a bloodstream itself and travel through the heart and lung! Back to Top…


We do floor exercise games for:
• flexibility
• strong muscles
• right-left discrimination
• coordination
• learning the names of our bones and muscles
• listening and following directions
• concentration

We stand on pretty stickers in a line and follow the teacher to learn:
• see-do skills
• right-left
• counting
• simple dance steps

We move freely around the room:
• to skip forward (and backwards!)
• to leap
• to dance our feelings
• to do “magic” dances where we are butterflies and frogs
• to make up our own dances and freeze when the music stops
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