At Stevens, the "specials" are considered "essentials," where the joy of creativity enhances the development of life-long, imaginative problem solvers and learners.
pecials teachers collaborate closely with classroom teachers to ensure an integrated curriculum throughout the year. For example, in the midst of a weather study, 1st graders may create cloud mobiles in the Art room, move like cirrus clouds in the Movement room, sing a song about rain and learn the Spanish words for rain and snow.
In Music, all children sing on a weekly basis, learning the basics of pitch, tone and rhythm. They also explore percussion instruments, sometimes creating their own. 3rd and 4th graders learn the discipline of instrumental music through a simple instrument, the recorder. Middle school students may choose to study clarinet, flute, guitar, violin or saxophone, putting together duets and ensembles as they become more adept. The culmination of each year's music lessons is a recital in the spring.
The Art teachers work with all students from 4s through 8th grade, nurturing their natural creativity and introducing them to a wide variety of media and concepts. The Art rooms, large, bright spaces are always vibrantly full of works in progress and extensive resources of materials and recyclables. Long-term projects related to the social studies curricula include the making of Egyptian jewelry, stained glass and Japanese silk paintings. A kiln and printing press enable ceramics and printmaking to be woven into the program.
“You have to take enough time to get kids deeply involved in something they can think about in lots of different ways.”Howard Gardner
For PreK through 4th grade, the Movement program is a creative exploration of bodily kinesthetics incorporating aspects of dance, gymnastics and dramatic expression. Freedom of expression and creativity are balanced with an understanding of muscle control and discipline.
Spanish begins informally in 1st grade with songs and games, later developing into familiarity with words related to the classroom and everyday life. While they are young and less inhibited, children are encouraged to experiment with the sounds and structure of a different language. For 3rd grade and above the program includes study of Hispanic cultures. In 5th-8th grade students are working with a Spanish text incorporating regular homework and oral practice.
Computers are provided as classroom tools in the 1st through 8th grades, and the Computer teacher visits each room once a week, working with small groups of students to ensure competency with the hardware and software. Typing is taught through a self-monitoring program, first introduced in 5th grade. All students learn file management, word processing, graphics and simple database work in addition to selected math, science, and social studies programs. Middle school students (5th-8th grade) also work with Hyperstudio, scanners and digital cameras to prepare multimedia presentations. Research on the Internet is supervised by faculty.
4s-4th grade students have daily physical activity in the local parks, through free play and cooperative group games. The Physical Education teacher also works with 2nd graders once a week, and older students more frequently. The focus is on basic ball-handling skills, team play and game strategy, and personal fitness. For the middle school students (5th-8th grades), team play is extended through participation in the Hoboken Basketball League, and by challenging the faculty each winter to a game that also serves as a successful fundraiser for the School.