Junior School Arts

At the Junior School, students are just beginning to develop and discover their artistic talents. With their unprecedented energy and enthusiasm, they bring a wonderful attitude to their creative activities.

With a professional art teacher, our students learn to paint and sculpt while building basic skills for future development. By Grade 4, strings students are ready to have their own concerts. Every two years, our school opera offers students a chance to shine in the spotlight and gives them a great, confidence-building experience.

Our approach to art at the Junior School is that it should be fun and that students should not be afraid to try their hand at anything and everything.

Primary Music Program (Grades K-3)

The focus of our early-childhood music program is to inspire in our students a life-long love of music. Children have four music classes in the 10-day cycle, during which they develop skills in musical expression and explore improvisation. Activities include movement with songs, chants and canons, rhythm instruments, musical games, dance and creative movement.

In addition to formal music instruction, music plays a significant part in daily life and lessons at the Junior School.

Choral Program (Grades 3-5)

In Grades 3, 4 and 5, students enjoy a choral program that builds their personal association with music, both as a listener and as a performer. Students study the voice as an instrument and learn theory, rhythm, melodic line, dynamics, tempo and musical form.

Through the choral program, students:

  • sing in different languages;
  • develop sight-singing abilities;
  • practice diction and breath;
  • learn songs from different eras and styles; and
  • acquire basic listening skills.

Students discover the different genres of music – opera, ballet, symphony and choral – and learn about the different instruments of the orchestra.

Strings Program (Grades 4-5)

Junior school students playing strings

I really enjoyed the experience of playing in an orchestra. Everything is so different when you listen to the music from the point of view of the musician than when you hear it from the audience.

Read more from Grade 5 students taking part in the orchestra.

Our strings program teaches skills through ensemble playing. Students can choose to play the violin, viola, cello or double bass and we focus on developing:

  • posture and playing positions;
  • left-arm, right-arm and hand coordination;
  • tone production and intonation; and
  • music-reading skills.

Rehearsing in small and large ensembles, students build confidence and gain a solid foundation of skills on their instruments, which they can continue to develop with the same teacher when they move to Middle School. We consider performance an important part of music education, and feature the Junior School strings players in many events throughout the school year, including the closing ceremonies.

Because we require practice at home and at school, we recommend that each strings student acquire their own instrument. We are happy to discuss purchase and rental options to help you find the best fit for your child and your family.

Visual Art

In the Junior School Art program, children from Kindergarten to Grade 5 try a variety of artistic methods and forms. Taught by a trained artist, the students express their ideas, attitudes and feelings through visual art. The Junior School art room includes sinks, a kiln, large table spaces and windows for lots of natural light.

Art enriches the natural creative attitude of young children. Students gain an understanding of visual culture and become inspired to create. Art class can enhance the concepts and ideas that are being studied in other classes, which act as a springboard to art projects.

At the primary level, the homeroom teacher works with the art teacher to make connections with other subject areas and to encourage children in their creative endeavours. At the intermediate level, art class focuses on creating work inspired by the art world. Class work covers various artists and art movements and introduces relevant concepts and terminology.

Visual Arts at SMUS


Every two years, the Junior School stages an opera at the McPherson Playhouse or the Royal Theatre. This huge, professional production provides a great experience for all involved. In addition, the school stages Christmas plays, a French play and other smaller productions throughout the year.

A SMUS Junior School Theatre performance of Cinderella