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The Arts

painting waterThe art programs at BNS teach children to express themselves through visual art, creative dramatics, and music.  Additionally, students enhance their arts vocabulary and learn about art history.  Children increase their aesthetic understanding of the world.


In the 2nd grade there are numerous project-based activities relating to the NY curriculum and other studies that involve building models, mapping, sketching and drawing. There are further studies of bodies of water and landforms that involve the use of oil pastels, acrylics, watercolor, cray-pas and clay. Artists studied include Van Gogh, Gaugin and Frida Kahlo. 2nd graders are studying the flowers of Georgia O'Keeffe and the paintings of Romare Beardon and Jacob Lawrence. Additional activities include drawing with quills, ink printing, origami, sewing, creating flip books, poetry and images through words and words through images as well as drawing during free time and singing together.

In kindergarten there are two main studies: Pigeon Study and Dinosaur Study. There is also a unit on Me, Family and Community. Students do self-portraits drawing and sketching using crayon, oil pastels, cray-pas, chalk, charcoal and black flairs. They also paint with watercolor, tempra and finger painting. Using clay they make models of birds, worms and fossils. Using recycled objects students make sculptures. There are paper folding activities, paper mache, bookmaking and dictating and narrating stories. In addition to sewing and knitting there are many opportunities for singing and chanting including nursery rhymes, poems, and songs in Spanish and English. Field trips include the American Museum of Natural History, Puppetworks (puppet theatre), recording singing in a recording studio and a trip to Puppet jazz Club. For more info on the Pigeon study click here.

The Fourth Grade Musical

The BNS Musical involves all 4th grade students. Each year BAX teaching artist José Joaquin Garcia and BNS music teacher Jonathan Hardy create a new musical with BAX choreographer Donna Costello. Consisting of an eclectic blend of musical styles, poetry and choreography students develop their skills for three musical performances. With assistance from BNS art teacher Ann Rosen on sets, technology teacher Ed Kelly and parent assistance with costumes and everything else, students are able to experience the teamwork and exhilaration of presenting a musical that showcases their talents.

Brooklyn Arts Exchange

Each year, all classes from Kindergarten through Grade 5 participate in a 15-week residency with an artist from BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange. BAX is a multi-arts non-profit organization in Park Slope, Brooklyn, founded in 1991 (as the Gowanus Arts Exchange). Their mission is to provide a nurturing, year-round performance, rehearsal and educational venue in Brooklyn that encourages artistic risk-taking and stimulates dialogue among diverse constituencies.


Art in the Curriculum

Art in all forms is also integrated into every aspect of curriculum, including social studies, literacy, science, Spanish, technology and mathematics. Teaching artists from the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, as well as the art and music teachers, work closely with classroom teachers to ensure that project-based learning is a consistent part of what is happening in the classroom.  Third graders studying China make Chinese lanterns and models of the Great Wall of China.  Children learn songs related to themes studied in social studies and create theater and skits addressing them.  They have the opportunity to exhibit their own talents at the Children's Extravaganza in December.  The Grade 4 musical allows students to put their own poetry to music.