Arts Centred Learning

The Arts-Centred Learning program focuses on learning in and through the arts. 

Students take courses in art, drama, dance, music and media arts to learn the foundation of these disciplines. Our distinguishing feature is the focus in core curriculum on learning and teaching using the arts as a means of understanding the world. Students are given opportunities to learn and present information and experiences in multiple ways. There is a greater emphasis on process than product. In addition to more traditional methods, students share what they have learned through the disciplines of the fine and performing arts. They are encouraged to find ways of learning that help them understand concepts, analyze experiences and develop attitudes that demonstrate the rigour that the arts require. Staff and students have opportunities to work extensively with professional artists. ‘Talent’ is not the issue in arts -centred learning; the emphasis is on the learning processes that encourage inquiry, exploration, experimentation and reflection. The prescribed Alberta Curriculum serves as our starting point for our work and we believe students have opportunities to achieve beyond the basic curricular expectations. 

Student Suitability

Students who wish to attend Willow Park School Arts-Centred Learning must possess a genuine interest in the arts including: dance, drama, art, music, literacy and/or media arts. This should be the primary reason for choosing this program as students will be given opportunities for coconstructing knowledge and understanding through the arts. The program is much more demanding than a regular program because exploring concepts through the arts adds another layer of complexity to the core subjects and more responsibility from learners. 

Successful students at Willow Park demonstrate:

  • an interest and passion for the arts
  • initiative, imagination and ingenuity when engaging in a variety of creative processes to develop and explore ideas
  • the ability to thrive in a fast-paced rigorous program that extends beyond the basic curricular expectation
  • a willingness to take advantage of multiple learning opportunities offered through the arts
  • motivation and independence
  • the ability to work well in a variety of situations; collaboratively and independently

It is important to understand that the two major goals of the Arts-Centred Learning program are: to give students an opportunity to enhance their learning in all areas and to develop skills in all of the arts by incorporating them into their learning.

Art Core Experience (ACE) at Willow Park School!

Have you heard of ACE time? Art Core Experience time happens each Friday for 1.5 full hours. We hope your students have been talking about the creative work with students.

What is ACE - Art Core Experience? 

Willow Park School Arts Centred Learning Program offers our students the opportunity to learn in and through the Arts as a means of understanding the world, accessing and expressing knowledge and experiences in multiple ways through the disciplines of fine and performing arts.

In order for our students to express their knowledge of core material in and through the arts, we feel it is important to provide and directly teach skills that may help best represent student learning. Therefore, we have allocated 1.5 hours a week for ACE time. Art Core Experience provides staff and students time in our schedule to teach art skills for specific purposed which our students, as artists of their own learning, can choose from, combine, alter and use when learning In and Through the Arts. Twenty-five different art skills are taught each Friday during our 1.5 hour ACE time together.

Students work together with a different teacher each Friday. Teachers will take learners through a number of important Art Core Experiences to provide each student with skills they will be able to transfer to any or all classes in the near and distant future. For example learners may have a 1.5 hour workshop on painting with water colours in which they will gain the life long learning skills that they can use when creating art for class work or when observing and discussing a piece of art made with water colours. Skills taught may involve Drama, Art, Music, Theory, Dance etc. All activities will be documented by our staff and posted to our ACE site as a living document for students, parents and teachers to refer to.

The staff at Willow Park School share a vast variety of Art experience, expertise and passions that they share with our students. Many teachers on staff are published authors/playwrights/poets, have and or play music professionally, make films, design, cook, are Art enthusiasts and or create and view Art in their free time. We know that the enthusiasm and expertise from our staff will help motivate our students to learn these skills and to transfer learned techniques into other areas throughout their experience at Willow Park and elsewhere.

After the first five weeks of ACE, we will evaluate the success of our first round with students and then the teachers will create another set of ACE skills for our learners to rotate through. This will happen five times throughout the year. Learners will have a session with each of our Fine Arts Teachers as they will rotate through grade groups.

At the end of each five week ACE round, learners will be asked to give some feedback (to be determined) to help shape how ACE continues at Willow Park School. This places our students in charge as designers of their learning. We value input and look forward to discussing all of our thoughts together with the staff and students at Willow Park School.

We are excited to begin ACE together know we will enjoy learning more about the talents and skills of our amazing staff here at Willow Park School. This site will grow and change, as we do, and we hope you take the time to view our ACE website with your child and or parent!

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​​Arts-Centred Learning Program at the CBE

Is Arts-Centred Learning the Right Choice for My Child?

A successful student demonstrates:
  • An interest in and passion for the arts
  • Initiative, imagination and ingenuity when engaging in a variety of creative processes to develop and explore ideas
  • The ability to thrive in a fast-paced rigorous program that extends beyond the basic curricular expectation
  • A willingness to take advantage of multiple learning opportunities offered through the arts
  • Characteristics that honour and respect the creativity of peers
  • Motivation and independence
  • The ability to work well in a variety of situations; collaboratively and independently

Characteristics of Arts-Centred Learning

  • Arts-focused inquiry integrating Alberta Education’s Programs of Study
  • Opportunities for co-constructing knowledge and understanding through the arts
  • Develop creative and critical thinking
  • Learning comes from the process as well as the product
  • Students represent their knowledge and understanding through the multiple perspectives found throughout the arts
  • Students learn to appreciate and critique their art and the art of others
  • Skill development in the arts is integrated throughout the curriculum using school and community resources

Visit the CBE website to help determine whether or not the Arts-Centred Learning Program is right for your child. You can also refer to the Alternative Programs Handbook (Alberta Education).​

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