Emphasizing the arts to develop students’ skills in collaboration, problem solving and communication, preparing them for whatever academic, artistic, professional or vocational endeavours they pursue. The Fine Arts program is open to all students who fall in the Vancouver School Board’s authority, with admission by annual lottery. It is an integrated yet self-contained stream within Nootka Elementary School, and consists of one class for each grade (approximately 10 students total). Nootka has a total population of approximately 500 students, and also hosts a classic stream and the Thrive Program for special needs students. Admission is by lottery, except for siblings of students already in the Fine Arts Program. Students interested in the program are placed on a wait list by grade, as applications after the kindergarten year are received. Applications are held for one year, and must be renewed each following year by phoning the school office.
Nootka Elementary operates on a schedule of five full days each week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students receive three progress reports through the course of the year, combining teachers’ comments and performance assessments.
As of 2007, graduates of the Fine Arts Program are offered a place at Windermere Athena High School’s Fine Arts Program, where they can continue an arts-focused education. The Fine Arts program at Nootka elementary is unique in the Vancouver School Board, augmenting the standard curriculum for children from kindergarten to Grade 7 with specialized instruction in visual, dance, music and process drama. Through learning the fundamental concepts underlying these four creative disciplines, students will establish a broad foundation upon which any future academic, artistic, professional or vocational pursuits can be developed.
The core philosophy of the program is that studying the concepts underlying creativity in the Arts will develop students’ skills in collaboration, problem solving, communication and versatility. The standard curriculum in language arts, mathematics, natural and social sciences is taught by each grade’s home room teacher. Each of the teachers also has specific expertise in one of the program’s four arts disciplines, and the students go to these teachers for instruction in that topic. This arts instruction accounts for about a third of the students’ week, and occasionally “informances” are held for parents over the course of the year.
Classroom teachers have the freedom to infuse their programs with arts-related activities. Drawing on concepts and principles form the arts to teach and explain other subject areas. Teachers also adapt specific lessons or projects each year, to best engage the students’ interests, knowledge and needs.
Exploring a full range of movement, developing skills and learning basic concepts that use a common vocabulary. Students share in the creative process by contributing to solo, small group and class choreographies
Participating in role-play, improvisation stimulated by a story. Students develop skills such as active listening & risk-taking through movement, mime, dance, play and silence. Group work can lead to whole-class creations and collective understanding of a topic.
Learning the concepts of rhythm, beat, melody, harmony and form through listening, movement, composing, singing and playing a variety of instruments. Grade 6 and 7 students can join the school's Intermediate and Senior bands.
Understanding the elements & principles of art design through process-based studio experiences using a variety of media. Students study art history, and develop the skills to look at and respond to various artistic forms.