As printed in the North Shore News Private School Edition, February 2011

Wednesday is my favorite day of the week. This is because we get to spend the whole afternoon working on art at my school, North Star Montessori.

Please don’t get me wrong. Wednesday is not the only day on which we do art. Drawing, sculpture, crafts, music and drama are part of almost every project on which my classmates and I work. For example, this week, while learning about levers and pulleys, we created model ziplines. Some of my friends worked on an architecture project in which they built houses, both in modernist and postmodernist styles. Other classmates built busts of mummies when they studied ancient Egypt. And others created artistic cake decorations when they studied the history of baking and famous chefs.

My classroom teacher encourages me to include art in my presentations. When I was studying the Phoenicians, I created a tea-stained scroll that looked very authentic. When I learned about the structure of the atom, I built sample atoms from clay. I am currently working on a report about electronic music. While studying the history of electronica, I have also been using the software Garage Band to compose my own music sample. The school’s Winter Concert brings together many performing arts. The teachers allow us a lot of creative freedom. For this year’s concert, my friends and I wrote our own comedy skit. It was a hilarious game show called You Can’t Win! Last year, we choreographed a brand new hip-hop dance. The music came from a CD that we listened to in French class.

So why is Wednesday special? It’s when the whole afternoon is one long art class with an art teacher who is an accomplished artist herself. There is nothing like learning about art from a practicing artist. There is no limitation to the creative ideas that emerge. We are allowed to talk about anything among ourselves while we work. The environment is very peaceful, and our art teacher encourages imagination and new ideas.

We are currently working on marionettes and are having a great time imagining how our characters will turn out. Each of us was free to choose the character that he or she would build. I chose one of my all-time favourite characters – Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim. We build the marionettes from felt and Fimo, a special type of artistic clay. We are learning the different steps required to build life-like marionettes. We will later use the marionettes in a play that we will write.

Sometimes it feels like North Star Montessori is an art school. But really, it’s just a well-rounded school that includes arts in every aspect of school work. Shouldn’t the arts be treated like this everywhere?