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A Progressive Education for 3 Months to Grade 12


Lower School Arts

Every child is an artist at Barrie

Our art rooms are places of research and discovery where children develop unique voices through an exciting and inspirational investigation of concepts, techniques, and materials.

Visual Arts

Primary Program - Ages 3-5

Formal visual arts lessons begin in the Primary division at age three. Students are introduced to basic skills, tools, and materials in order to start exploring the world of the artist. We use books in the classroom to explain the different elements of design and the process of making art. Each student is able to use the materials provided to express himself/herself freely within the guidelines of a project. Students are encouraged to use their imagination and to focus on the process of creating an artistic piece, instead of a final product.


As students enter into the Lower Elementary grades, they begin to build on their foundation of art skills. They learn to appreciate specific artists and techniques through projects and peer discussion. Group projects build community and foster an appreciation toward the common goal of creating public art works. In the Lower Elementary division, students begin to discuss emotion and mood through their artwork.


As our students progress into the Upper Elementary division, these skills continue to build, allowing students to gain independence in their work. They are able to compare and contrast their own work and that of master artists, experiment in multiple techniques within one project, demonstrate quality craftsmanship, and identify cultural associations through visual imagery.

Developing an aesthetic sense, taking risks with creative expression, and understanding the visual world inspire our students. Art history, integration of grade-level studies and creative experiences in the classroom are also an important part of the program.

In the Arts program, the students are able to build their skills throughout the year and continue to grow as they progress to the next level. As a whole-school Visual Arts Department, we discuss the curriculum for grades 5 and 6 to make sure the progression is natural and appropriate.

Music Education

Throughout the Lower School, vocal and instrumental music, along with movement and dance, are combined with dramatic elements in order for the students to see the music as an expression of the human experience. Students from age 3 to grade 5  experience making music as part of story-telling. In Primary classes, students act out seasonal songs and classic children’s tales, choosing their level of involvement as musicians, singers and actors. These lessons are spontaneous in nature and ‘performed’ inside their own music room in order to allow every student an emotionally safe place to experiment. Elementary students continue to engage in the emotional and dramatic elements of their weekly music-making in a similar fashion. In the spring semester, the students produce a full ‘theatrical and musical’ performance of an authentic folk-tale inspired by the country and/or continent from that year’s Montessori curriculum, using authentic songs, music and dances to enhance the story.