The Arts


The creative experiences that comprise the NPS visual arts program develop students’ intuition, reasoning, imagination, and communication skills. The art curriculum is rooted in the fundamental elements of art and principles of design while also exploring art history and numerous art media and techniques. Students study and practice art styles and movements from the earliest cave drawings to today’s digital world, inspiring their own creations and interpretations. Through arts integration and the use of thinking routines from Project Zero’s Making Thinking Visible and Agency by Design's maker-centered learning, students at National Presbyterian School look at subject matter from new and diverse perspectives, making vital connections across the school curriculum and deepening their understanding of what they’re learning in the classroom.


The music program at National Presbyterian School fosters a love of music and strives to educate independent, lifelong music makers. Music classes in Nursery through Grade 2 are taught through the Kodaly approach to music education. Students sing and play age-appropriate folk songs and singing games and become familiar with the fundamentals of music through experience-based learning. Students in Grades 3-6 attend music classes taught through an Orff-Schulwerk inspired approach, allowing them to build upon their musical knowledge and create, compose, arrange, and study more complex musical themes. These programs help students develop music literacy skills and provide positive experiences in speech, singing, instrument playing, moving, and creating. Throughout their time at NPS, students are exposed to a dynamic and culturally rich repertoire of music including: American and international folk songs, art songs, spirituals, Christmas carols and traditional hymns, as well as representative samples from African and Native American music and American jazz. The music program at NPS also strongly encourages a sense of community through common singing and musical sharing in weekly Chapels, holiday services, and other assemblies and programs throughout the school year.


The drama program at National Presbyterian School provides an opportunity for students to explore curricular areas in creative, dramatic ways. The program stresses the process of creation while also providing students with an opportunity to learn performance skills. In the lower grades, the program focuses on process-centered activities to enhance a child’s natural sense of dramatic play and imagination with story drama, movement activities, and imaginative play. Upper Division students use educational drama strategies including process drama, role play, script analysis, and improvisation. Critical thinking, problem solving, self-expression, and aesthetic appreciation are primary tenets of instruction. Students participate in a developmentally-appropriate performative experience, ranging from an open class with parent participation in the lower division to musical productions for the school in the upper grades. Students are intimately involved in the creative process of writing, directing, and acting in these presentations. All students also enjoy regular opportunities for dramatic expression through homeroom activities such as simulations, role play, Readers Theatre, morning meeting group activities, Chapel, and assemblies.


Learning in Action

Student cutting painted paper

Our Pre-Kindergartners are studying the work of Eric Carle, including the process by which he makes the art for his books. And they tried out the multi-step process themselves!

STEAM Night: Maker Edition (Video)

What have you MADE lately? Thank you to Team STEAM and everyone who attended NPS STEAM Night 2018: Maker Edition! Please enjoy this video recap.

Explore More

Art Overview

Music Overview

Drama Overview


Contact Us

Colleen Ryan
Director of Studies

Laura Primrose
Director of the Lower Division
(Age 3 - Grade 1)

Susanne Rusan
Director of the Upper Division
(Grade 2 - 6)