The Independent Day School


The liberal arts tradition of cultivating well-rounded, informed and multi-dimensional thinkers lies at the heart of the IDS Specials Program. In addition to Science, Spanish, Design Thinking, Technology and Digital Arts and Sciences (D.A.S.), our Music, Art, Physical Education and Theatre Arts Programs each represent an important part of the broader curriculum that encourages curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and compassion. 


The arts are essential to early learning as they empower children to communicate their thoughts, their feelings and perceptions in a dynamic language that finds unique expression through each child. They cultivate imagination, encourage mental plasticity, and enrich a child’s understanding both of diverse others and of the self. Through their work in Art over their years at IDS, children develop the creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills they can apply across the curriculum.

Kindergarten through fifth graders visit the art studio for forty minutes twice weekly. This allows for unhurried time to explore sensory and kinesthetic properties of materials and to develop skills in two- and three-dimensional representation. A spiral curriculum that revisits and builds upon skills learned previously, ensures continuity in skill development. Students study art history and continue to experiment with various mediums.

Students in Sixth through Eighth Grades meet in the studio twice a week for fifty minutes for one semester. They continue along the trajectory of the spiral curriculum established at the lower levels, now attempting projects of greater ambition and complexity, including work on the pottery wheel. Many art lessons are still driven by the curriculum in other disciplines.

Trips to local museums augment the art history component of their coursework.


Children in Beginners and Pre-Kindergarten experience music with their classroom teachers as part of the regular curriculum. Kindergarten through second grade students meet with the music teacher twice weekly. Students sing, play rhythm instruments, and move to music, while learning to match pitch and develop rhythm skills. Students also begin what will be their ongoing study of various composers, their lives and music. Students not only learn about the various instruments of the orchestra but they hear and see many of these played during class. Third grade students also meet twice weekly. They learn to play the recorder and read music. All Fourth and Fifth Graders participate in both the 4/5 Chorus and in band.  Sixth through eighth graders participate in a band and have the opportunity to participate in the Middle School Chorus.  Seventh and eighth graders may participate in the seventh and eighth grade band, the Middle School Chorus, or both.  Extracurricular opportunities exist for Middle School students to participate in a number of ensembles, such as Jazz Band, Chamber Music, and Chamber Strings . Many MS students also participate in the SE Regional Music Festival

Physical Education

At IDS, we believe Physical Education is an integral and invaluable component of every child’s education. Physical Education classes are designed to teach skill development, sportsmanship, cooperation, participation, and of course, having fun all with equal emphasis!

Even our youngest students—the Beginners and Pre-Kindergarteners—participate in the program, meeting twice weekly for gym class. The lessons are much the same in Kindergarten and First Grade when students meet for gym three times each week. We introduce more advanced skills at this stage like dribbling and throwing and incorporate these skills in the theme-based games. Still we work hard to remove the competitive element from play to ensure that the focus of PE at this level remains on skill development and fun. In Second and Third Grade, we introduce team activities to encourage cooperative work and play. By Fourth and Fifth Grade, the students engage in grade level team sports employing all the skills developed earlier. Meeting three times weekly allows for the further skill training necessary for a specific sport. In Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade, students can choose to supplement the regular PE program by participating in one of our team sports: Basketball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Golf or Cross Country. Everyone makes the team to allow all students the experience of competitive athletics within a team sport. Students leave IDS with this vital life skill, a broad knowledge of a wide range of games, and a sense of the fun to be found in physical fitness that will sustain their lifelong commitment to physical health and activity

Theatre Arts

"The world is our stage" is more than an expression at IDS. Each year, beginning in Kindergarten, all students are involved in acting and producing age-appropriate dramatic productions. We act, we sing, we dance, we design and build sets, and no matter how small or large the role, students are engaged in working together to bring the theater to life.

Students in kindergarten through grade five present a play to the entire community. Often the theme of each classroom production is woven into the classroom’s academic curriculum. The class play is certainly one of the highlights of each child’s year!

All Middle School Students take semester of Theatre Arts each year. The sixth grade students study puppetry. They study the history of puppetry and write scripts, design and build the puppets, create scenery, and present a puppet production. The Seventh Grade students study public speaking skills. The focus of the class is on non-verbal communication, verbal expression and stage presence. The students also create a monologue about their passions and present them to an audience. The Eighth Grade studies specific scenes through a program that integrates acting, creative writing and text analysis. Student use script reading and group discussion to examine the plot, characters and language of a play. At the end of the course, the eighth graders work on scenes. They analyze and direct their own scenes that are presented to an audience. To supplement their weekly classes with direct experience, students can participate in a fall play and/or a spring Broadway-style musical production, involving up to fifty cast and crew members. The Tech Club offers experience and opportunities in all aspects of technical theatre.

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