The Oxford School offers a full arts program for students of all ages. With choirs and bands, drama clubs and full-scale productions, studio art classes, and dance clubs, there are opportunities for all students to develop their love of, and talents in the arts.
Art direction is based on the fundamental principal of individual expression as opposed to “cookie-cutter” art projects. The art room is laid out in a way which encourages students to help themselves to supplies in order to develop their own creative instincts. All students work at their own pace, so Free Art is encouraged when their assignment is complete.
The Fundamentals of Art design are introduced early and incorporated into all of our activities with a strong emphasis on basic drawing skills. Principles such as colour theory, colour mixing, composition, perspective drawing are reintroduced each year and built on as the student progresses. By studying Art Around the World, Famous Artists and the History of Art the students to develop an awareness and appreciation for various art forms and cultures.
In all arts activities, not only are the students encouraged to experiment and step outside their comfort zone but also to respect and encourage the efforts of their fellow students.
The Oxford School firmly believes that by nurturing the artist in every student we are developing their problem solving skills, and encouraging creative, dynamic ways of thinking, while working cooperatively with others. As such, we have an entire department dedicated to Art and Drama.
In the early years, we focus on drama games and activities which stimulate the imagination and encourage the students to work together as a team. In addition, equal time is given to the students to “let loose” and work in teams to develop their own mini-skits often with amazing results! From these foundations we develop the students’ confidence and stage presence through the use of Reader’s Theatre and memorized scripts.
We utilize class time to prepare the students with professional direction which includes vocal coaching, blocking and character development. In the upper grades scripts are often literature based which includes an Introduction to Shakespeare, in which we present an abridged version of one of his works in the original text. At year end, the graduating class attends a production at the Stratford Festival Theatre.
TOS has also presented many school musicals which often incorporate several grades. Over the years we have created an enviable prop and costume department, which is fundamental in our role-playing activities and school productions.
Music is recognized as a valuable academic area of study at The Oxford School. It helps to broaden students creative, social, and academic abilities as well as builds self-esteem and confidence. At TOS, we aim to instill a love for music at a very young age and then build on that throughout the progressing years of study.
Research has shown that when a student learns to read music and express themselves through artistic creativity, a higher level of academics is achieved in all subject areas. Therefore, The Oxford School sees the value in making music a vital part of the students overall academic studies.
Music at TOS is introduced in Pre-Kindergarten and further developed through participation in choirs from Junior Kindergarten to Grade Six. Instrumental music is commenced in Grade Three/Four starting with the recorder. In Grade Five/Six the students are introduced to our unique Hand Bell Choir, at which point the program is expanded to include various wind, string, and brass instruments as they move through the senior grades. Music theory and history are also an integral part of our music program. School productions at Christmas and in the spring as well as our year end performance, which marks the celebration of the year's end of learning, both excites and instills confidence in our students.
Incorporating dance into the Arts program allows TOS students to experience unique opportunities, build confidence, perform in front of an audience and have fun! Under the direction of certified dance instructor Miss Ruxton, students learn about a variety of dance genres ranging from classical ballet, to up beat hip hop and even the hand jive! Students in her class have the opportunity to learn a routine and perform at Dance Fest, a celebration of the Arts put on by the London District Catholic School Board. It is an amazing accomplishment for our students to perform in front of an audience of hundreds of other students from all over Woodstock. TOS students have also been able to perform at Friday Tea during Halloween and our Christmas concert; the Sugar Plum Fairies are always a crowd favourite. Upon student request, Dance Club usually meets once per week to learn and practice dance technique, play games that teach rhythm and timing, learn short combinations and make new friends!