What does arts integration mean?
While providing students with the academic knowledge that's required for their grade level, Buckman's classroom teachers, arts specialists, support staff and volunteers all work to nurture the whole child—intellectual, emotional, social, and physical—using a variety of teaching strategies. Notably, staff use a multiple-intelligence approach (developed by Howard Gardner), working with students' verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical-rhythmic, bodily-kinetic, visual-spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist and existentialist intelligences. (See here for more information about Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory.)
This means that a lesson about mathematical patterns is not just a static, standard math lecture—instead it might include a rhythmic dance involving the whole body. A first-grade unit about rocks does not mean rote memorization of different types of geologic formations. Instead, it might involve a puppet show of the fanciful story «Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.» Or the teacher might lead students in the creation of a mosaic using different types of rock, or spontaneous dance moves, imitating how rock erodes from a mountainside. As one Buckman teacher puts it, the idea is to give students a variety of ways to create authentic, immediate connections with the subject matter, as appropriate to their age group, grade level, and intellectual abilities.
In addition, students embark on in-depth explorations of groundbreaking artists and art movements throughout history, including Picasso, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Asian art, and many others, deepening their understanding of world events, cultural movements, and historical perspective. Students' strengths and learning preferences are taken into account, and children are often given the opportunity to explore subjects on their own, through independent projects.
Teachers use activity-oriented projects , learning centers, design technology, themes and simulations to make learning memorable and rewarding.
Performance is also a big part of the Buckman program. Students receive progressive training in dance, music, and theater performance, through a program developed by Buckman staff. Students who have attended Buckman throughout elementary school leave the school with a solid background of performance skills, which they find invaluable in their future academic and work careers.