View the Middle School Curriculum (Grades 6-8)

Humanities | Mathematics | Science | World Languages | Arts | Health & Wellness | Extended Study Week

View the Upper School Curriculum (Grades 9-12)

Humanities | Mathematics | Science | World Languages | Arts | Athletics, Health & Wellness | Extended Study Week


MS Arts

The Arts department believes all students are empowered when they have opportunities to develop creative talents. The commitment to student voice threads through the program, and is very popular at Barrie Prep. In the Middle School, every student receives one trimester of visual, voice/movement and musical arts every year; the design is based on our belief that middle school students benefit by exposure to all Arts areas. The Upper School offers students the ability to choose arts courses, as they exist outside of the rest of the academic schedule in an “Arts/Electives block.” Arts teachers and curricular leadership continue to build a program that balances exposure to various arts with sustained, specialized skill development.


Exploring the Environment through Visual Art: Grade 6

Middle School visual art classes focus on teaching a variety of media, techniques, and solid artistic craftsmanship. In Grade 6, art students learn how artists use the environment for inspiration. Over the course of the year, students spend time as a group identifying how "environment" should be identified and expanding upon that definition. Students learn to carefully observe aspects of their environment through sketching and writing, as well as in other media and techniques. As the year progresses, students are given creative assignments designed to develop creative problem solving as they continue to demonstrate their interpretation of "environment."

Exploring the Self through Visual Art­: Grade 7

This course explores the Grade 7 theme of Respect for Self through a variety of media and artistic techniques. Students explore historical and contemporary visual artworks and they record their insights through brief writing and sketching assignments. A range of visual art projects allows students to explore personal expression and demonstrate their aptitude in a particular medium, while engaging their creative thinking and problem­ solving skills. Media may include printmaking, portrait drawing, sculpture, photography, acrylic painting, and mosaic making.

Exploring Others through Visual Art­: Grade 8

In Grade 8, students learn about others through art. They expand their ability to artistically express their perspectives on, and relationships to, others by studying their classmates, friends, families, other cultures, their own culture, and other artists. A variety of media and artistic techniques is employed, including painting, collage, murals, and photography. Students explore community art and gain insight on ways in which public art can be used to positively impact a community. Observational skills are an important part of creative interpretation and are stressed in this class.

Performing Arts


Students in Middle School learn the basics of music theory, including notation, tablature, note location, melody, harmony, and how these concepts apply to popular music. They learn to work together as part of an ensemble, developing effective communication, cooperation, and leadership skills. The ensemble collaboratively selects songs for rehearsal and performance. Each member learns to play the selected material on the instrument of his or her choice. Students may select an instrument they have played before, one they are interested in learning, or bring their own instrument to class. Instruction is individualized based on a student's skill level, previous experience, and individual goals. Depending on previous experience, students can expect to develop the following musical skills:

  • Develop muscle memory; produce clear sounds; learn the location of notes on the instrument; play single-note progressions; maintain steady rhythms, match vocal pitch.
  • Play chords; develop basic understanding of keys, intervals, and scales; use increasingly complex rhythms; match vocal pitch; project voice with strength.
  • Use chord inversions and extensions; develop proficiency with scales and intervals; begin exploring arpeggios; practice left and right hand variation on the piano; cultivate steady, dynamic rhythmic patterns.

Access to an instrument outside of school and private instruction is not required, but will contribute to more rapid individual growth. Students with previous experience can expect to see marked improvement as they participate in the program. After sufficiently rehearsing material, ensembles perform at Arts Nights and other community events.


Voice at Barrie Prep is multifaceted and seeks to develop students in four primary performance areas: Public Speaking, Poetry/Spoken Word, Vocal Music, and Drama. Students in Grades 6 through 8 experience each focus area and are expected to participate in four to six recitals and/or performances. In addition to knowledge of related terms and pertinent subject background information, students are expected to respond to presentations from guest artists and speakers, video and audio presentations, and instructor-led classroom lessons.