Wachusett Regional School District
Wachusett Mountain

The Arts
Curriculum Frameworks K-12
Approved by School Committee 10/15/96


The Wachusett Regional School District believes the Arts Education program should provide all students with curricular opportunities to participate in the four Arts disciplines of dance, music, theater and visual arts. Through culturally and esthetically diverse learning experiences and creative productions, students will develop esthetic awareness, explore and experience the nature of human feelings, as well as exhibit self awareness, confidence and, critical and reflective thinking skills.


The mission of the Wachusett Regional School District Arts Program is to foster curiosity about human relationships within the world. Therefore, students will become good observers, listeners and successful, productive and contributing members of an ever changing global society. The Arts program will unite the core concepts of production and performance; imaginative, critical and reflective thinking; and historical and cultural awareness. Teachers of the Arts will sequentially organize learning in the Arts by weaving strands of experiences and knowledge throughout the curriculum so that students may participate in, enjoy and appreciate the Arts throughout their lives.



In every culture, dance uses movement to express and communicate myths, rituals, stories, beliefs and information to others. Education in dance trains the student to use the body to convey meaning through the language of form, shape, rhythm, energy, space and movement. Dance communicates in ways that are physical, visceral, affective, symbolic and intellectual. Dance includes forms that are social and theatrical, sacred and secular, popular and esoteric, historical and contemporary.


Music is a unifying force in civilizations throughout the world. Music gives order to sounds and silence, and communicates through melody, harmony, rhythm and movement. Music education trains the student to use the human voice and a variety of instruments in individual and ensemble performances, such as band, orchestra and chorus. Types of music include classical, opera, gospel, folk, jazz, rock and musical theater.


Theater is an art form concerned with the representation of people in time and space, their actions and the consequences of their actions. Theater education expands the ability to understand others and communicate through language and action, and provides a unique opportunity for integrating the Arts, linking dance, music and visual arts elements in performance and production. Theater includes acting, improvisation, storytelling, mime, play making and play writing, directing, management, design and technical theater, and related arts such as puppetry, film and video.

Visual Arts

Visual arts and design education develops learners who can perceive and shape the visual, spatial and aesthetic characteristics of the world around them. Visual arts and design include the traditional "fine arts" of drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture; the design fields of handicrafts, industrial, textile, graphic, architectural and landscape design; and urban, regional and rural planning. Visual arts and design is a continuously evolving field that also explores the expressive potential of technologies such as film, holography, video and electronic art.


  •  The Arts are essential to the education of all students.
  • Students exercise and display multiple intelligences through the Arts. 
  • Understanding of human growth and development shapes effective Arts curriculum, instruction and assessment. 
  • Comprehensive and sequential Arts programs that begin in preschool and continue throughout high school provide the foundation for life-long learning in the Arts. 
  • Comprehensive and sequential Arts programs encourage learners to make multi-cultural and interdisciplinary connections. 
  • Authentic assessment in the Arts is designed to demonstrate what students know and can do; it provides a model for assessing all complex learning. 
  • Creating and sustaining high quality Arts programs requires partnerships among all faculty and between the school and community.


These are ways of thinking, attitudes and approaches to work that contribute to lifelong learning. The habits of mind developed through experiences in the Arts reflect the Common Core of Learning's three broad goals for students: Thinking and Communicating; Gaining and Applying Knowledge; and, Working and Contributing.

  •  Imaginative Thinking
  • Reflective Thinking 
  • Analytical Thinking 
  • Heightened Perceptual Awareness 
  • Organization, Curiosity and Persistence 
  • Personal and Social Responsibility 
  • Respect for Creativity in Others


The Wachusett Regional School District Arts Curriculum elements are organized according to the federal and state standards and procedures. First is offered the Guiding Principles which are the underpinning for how the curriculum is designed. Second, the Habits of Mind are detailed. These are ways of thinking, attitudes and approaches to work that contribute to lifelong learning. The habits of mind developed through experiences in the Arts reflect the Massachusetts Common Core of Learning's three broad goals for students: Thinking and Communicating, Gaining and Applying Knowledge, and Working and Contributing. Finally, the three learning Strands and eight Learning Standards are presented.


Experience in the creative process is essential for all learners. In the Arts, this process involves solving problems with skill and imagination, discovering new questions, and producing new ideas, objects or interpretations of existing works. Learning in, about and through the Arts develops each learner's capacity to make meaning from experience, respond to creativity, and contribute to society.


Strand 1: Creating and Performing

  • Students will use the Arts to express ideas, emotions and beliefs. 
  • Students will acquire and apply essential skills and literacy unique to each art form. 

Strand 2: Thinking and Responding

  • Students will use imaginative and reflective thinking during all phases of creating and performing. 
  • Students will use analytical and critical thinking to respond to works of art. 

Strand 3: Connecting and Contributing

  • Students will investigate the cultural and historical contexts of the Arts. 
  • Students will integrate the Arts and make connections among the Arts and other disciplines.  
  • Students will use technology in order to create, perform and conduct research in the Arts.  
  • Students will participate in the community's cultural and artistic life.

Go to Arts Curriculum Guide