The Visual Art program at Mason Prep strives to instill an appreciation of art and teach skills to foster artistic expression beginning in the first grade. Students in grades 1 through 6 attend art classes once a week throughout the year and students in grades 7 and 8 attend for one or more quarters by choice. Studio art, a survey and study of techniques in drawing and painting in acrylics, watercolors, oil pastels, pastels, printmaking, pottery, and other media, is offered each semester after school to all students.
Art at Mason Prep is not "arts and crafts,” and it is more than drawing and coloring. The art curriculum emphasizes higher level thinking skills related to each developmental stage. Students master skills in the areas of drawing and sketching using colored pencils, markers, crayons, pastels and oil pastels; painting using watercolors, tempera and acrylics; pottery and sculpture using a variety of clays; printmaking and printing; weaving; calligraphy and lettering; and architecture.
Art appreciation and art history are an essential part of the curriculum in all grades. Cross-curricular activities designed to enrich other subject areas are also an important part of the Visual Art program. Eighth grade students visit the National Gallery of Art each year during their trip to Washington, D.C.
Student art work is displayed throughout the school during the school year and works by all students, over 300 pieces, are displayed in a special art show on Awards Day each spring.
Laura Jenkins Thompson has been the art director and teacher for over 20 years. Mrs. Thompson has a B.A. in Fine Arts and an M.Ed in Special Education and is an award-winning author and artist herself. She teaches to the needs of each individual and encourages all of her students to be creative and strive for excellence. Hers is an active classroom full of joy.
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." ~Gustav Mahler.
At Mason Prep, students learn how to be more expressive with music through a deeper understanding of how it works. Our music program fosters a love and understanding of music to produce lifelong music appreciators.
All students participate in activities structured around the Nine National Standards of Music Education: singing, playing instruments, improvising their own music, composing their own music, reading music on the staff, listening and analyzing music, evaluating music, understanding music's integration into life, and understanding the history and cultures of music. Each of these standards requires solo and group performance, and our students are supported and encouraged in these areas.
Kindergarten students participate in music twice per week to develop their sense of rhythm and pitch. They explore instruments and all of the musical sounds around them. Plus, music is the place to move! First through sixth grade students meet for music once per week. Our first graders are the stars of our annual Holiday Program which features the story of Hanukkah and the Nativity. Second grade classes learn and perform a short skit with songs for our first grade classes. Third graders learn how to read musical notation in order to prep them for nine weeks of recorder study and nine weeks of xylophone study. Fourth grade music features a field trip to see the Charleston Symphony Orchestra as a conclusion to the study of all of the instruments. Fifth graders present an outstanding spring concert performance and also learn about music history, musical styles, and famous composers. In sixth grade, students become composers, learning the basics of musical expression, rhythm, melody, and harmony.
Middle School students have the opportunity to participate in a special enrichment drama program scheduled during exploratory time in the school day.
The program grew out of Dr. Carol Maynard’s seventh and eighth grade Literature classes. The first production was an edited version of Thornton Wilder's classic play, Our Town. An introduction to Shakespeare followed, with Dr. Maynard writing several of Shakespeare's plays to be enjoyed by children, including Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, The Tempest, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Original scripts followed: Good Night, Mr. Shakespeare!, Callbacks, and Oedipus the Prince - a comical prequel to Sophocles's play Oedipus the King, a staple in Dr. Maynard's eighth grade Literature curriculum.
In addition to cultivating acting talent through scene work and acting workshops, Mason Prep’s drama program allows students to sharpen their performance skills through role-playing and self-expression exercises, communication games, and improvisation techniques.
"Thanks to the creativity of the students, Drama class is the most exhilarating part of my teaching day. Students benefit by improving the communication skills of reading and interpreting scripts, listening to directions and reacting to their fellow actors, and speaking clearly and expressively. Given that I have written (or adapted) nearly all of the scripts we have used, Drama students also learn how to write more effectively." - Dr. Carol Maynard