Building an Appreciation for the Arts

I read an article recently which made the case for naming art as the fourth “R” in education. Reading, W “riting” and A “rithmatic” have been long considered as the standard subjects necessary for a good education. Here, at Gilman School, we already include the arts as another pillar of learning. There are few times of the year when this is more evident than spring. Art displays, musicals, class plays, and vocal performances abound. Today marked the end of lower school’s “play season” as Mr. Herb’s fourth grade class did an outstanding job with “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” by Roald Dahl. All year, the lower school boys were entertained by grade level plays, wax museum performances, or individual class productions. These assemblies, along with the special performers brought in by Mrs. Cyman and Mrs. Ward each month, have provided hours of cultural exposure to folk tales, classic stories, musical genres, and arts innovation.

A special treat this week is the installation of our annual art show. As work is placed on tables and hung on display boards, our youngest boys come by and browse- eyes wide open with wonder and amazement. They are being exposed to the many mediums and approaches these Gilman artists use to express themselves. Each artistic work tells stories, communicates ideas, or teaches math concepts- reading, writing, and arithmetic through the arts!


We once defined school as a place to prepare students for jobs they would need as they moved into adulthood – and those jobs were known. Following directions, basic understanding of reading and math concepts, uniformity and conforming to ideas were rewarded. Today’s world looks very different, and the world that our students will enter will look different still. Allowing for creativity to be front and center, giving students freedom to learn by exploring ideas and expressing themselves in artistic ways will better prepare our boys for the road ahead. For an interesting read about how creative pursuits build understanding, I have provided a link below. Enjoy.

I hope that my communication with you each week encourages “talking points” to inspire conversation with your son or sons. Here are some “talking points” based on recent school events.

  • If you are in Kindergarten- What was your favorite part of the 4B play, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”?
  • If you are in Prep-One- What was your favorite animal or creature you constructed for the rainforest canopy?
  • If you are in First Grade- What geographic features and animals did you see in your virtual reality Google experience with Mr. James and the iPads?
  • If you are in Second Grade- What has been your favorite lesson from the many parent speakers that have come and shared their story? What story are you speaking into the iPad during Spanish class?


  • If you are in Third Grade- How are you preparing for next week’s Poetry Coffee House? Do you have one poem that is your favorite? What inspired the poem?
  • If you are in Fourth Grade- What are you learning about the Chesapeake Bay? What did you enjoy about 4B’s play this week?
  • If you are in Fifth Grade- What are some of the memories you brought back from your trip to Williamsburg? What role will you play in Colonial Day this year? Did you see examples of this role in Williamsburg or Yorktown/Jamestown?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s