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The arts at CFIS

Our vibrant arts program supports students through a number of programs and initiatives:

  • Music and band
  • Visual arts
  • Our annual musical production
  • Drama classes
  • Shakespeare Residency Program

The arts are a wonderful way to explore French language and vocabuary, while supporting each child's creative, intellectual and emotional needs. 

Music and band

The music program at the Calgary French & International School is an immersive and exciting experience.

Music in early childhood

The pre-Kindergarten music program brings musical learning to CFIS three- and four-year-olds through song, rhythm patterns, instruments, and games. By actively engaging in singing, chanting, dancing, playing rhythm instruments, and experimenting with imitation and body movement, children begin to develop awareness of basic musical concepts. Learning music at a very young age develops listening awareness, fine motor skills, social interaction, confidence, and self-esteem, and facilitates learning other subjects by enhancing a number of key skills and developing social abilities.  It also increases a child’s chances of becoming meaningfully involved with music in later life as a listener, performer, and creator.

At the pre-Kindergarten level, the music program is built on the principle that children learn best by doing and practicing.  We concentrate on building active listening skills for interpreting and listening to music, and engaging in speaking and singing.  Students learn to use rhythm instruments such as bells, shakers, sticks, and drums, not only to keep a steady beat, but to distinguish between levels of sounds like loud/soft, high/low, and fast/slow. Classroom themes are reinforced by learning finger plays and simple songs. We also incorporate a wide variety of folk songs and theme-related songs throughout the year.  The dramatic interpretation of stories and songs is more involved at this level. Additionally, students are introduced to different cultural songs and dances in order to enhance the multicultural nature of our program.  By positive exposure to other cultures, children gain understanding and learn how to accept others.

Music in grades 1 to 3

We are a dynamic community of budding musicians,
who sing, play and move as an ensemble.  

We devote all of our energy and efforts
to making beautiful music together.

Philosophy

The Primary Music program is based on the philosophy that development of musical skills, knowledge and perception is fundamental to every child's total development.

All children are encouraged to participate to the best of their ability.  At the heart of the Primary Music program is the idea that children need to actively experience and participate in singing and musical activities before understanding can be achieved.

Curriculum

The Primary Music program is based on the following Alberta Education General Learner Outcomes:

  • Enjoyment of music
  • Awareness and appreciation of a variety of music, including  music of the  many cultures represented in Canada
  • Insights into music  through meaningful musical activities
  • Self-expression and creativity
  • Musical skills and knowledge

To accomplish these goals musical activities are organized on the basis of five conceptual elements: rhythm, melody, harmony, form and expression; and six skill areas: singing, playing instruments, listening, moving, reading & writing, and creating.  

Scope and sequence

Your child will participate in music class for 30 minutes, three days per six-day cycle.

Kindergarten and Grade 1

Singing and movement activities are the primary tools for experiencing music and gaining musical understanding at this level.  There is an integral link between music activities and language acquisition, which is explored in depth at this level by using literature to explore musical concepts and music to explore language.  Non-pitched percussion instruments are also used to experience and explore rhythm and beat.

Grade 2

As rhythmic awareness and beat competency develops, your child will learn to play xylophones, a pitched percussion instrument, to accompany singing and movement activities.

Grade 3

Your child will begin the year by expanding on xylophone skills and will then begin learning to play a soprano recorder, which will be supplied by the school.  As a part of the recorder program, your child will have the opportunity to participate in Flûtolympiques, a differentiated program designed to promote individualized progress and development of a basic song repertoire.  This is also a time when more formal study of music notation begins.

Evaluation

A variety of evaluation strategies are used including observation, anecdotal records, evaluation grids, rubrics, and video performance reviews.  

Special events

Music is meant to be shared, and children in the Primary Music program have a number of opportunities to share their abilities throughout the school year during assemblies, concerts and the UNESCO Showcases.  Due to limited availability of the school gymnasium, each grade level will have one opportunity to celebrate their learning with parents in a larger setting, and one opportunity to share in a smaller setting.  

Band in grades 4 to 12

Grades 4 through 6

Starting in Grade 4, CFIS students work on the very basic core concepts of what it means to be a part of an instrumental band. Playing mostly the recorder, Grade 4 students will begin their journey to being accomplished young musicians by practicing important orchestra habits, and by learning basic musical theory and technique in a very fun setting.

In Grade 5, CFIS students start playing their very first orchestral instruments for the first time. The entire Grade 5 year is dedicated to learning how to play instruments such as the trumpet, clarinet, trombone or the saxophone. 

One of the best parts about the CFIS music program is that each grade stays as the same band as they progress through their school years. In Grade 4, the classes learn how to be a part of a team. In Grade 5, this team learns how to play their instruments together. In Grade 6, the team now learns how to play orchestrated musical pieces composed for their skill level. As they progress through the school grades over the years, the same grade level band progresses through different difficulties of orchestrated music. 

Grade 7 band

In Grade 7, CFIS music students begin to prepare for the more complex musical trials that lay ahead. Students begin their junior high band experience and quickly realize the joys, benefits and challenges of having band three times in a scholastic cycle rather than just twice. Many Grade 7 students are met with difficult musical lessons early on. Yet, when the students overcome these challenges, they make the Grade 7 band class an exhilarating experience for everyone involved. 

Grade 8 to 12

By Grade 8, the CFIS music students become a part of our senior concert band, and are playing the same orchestral band music played by most high school students in other schools.

The CFIS senior concert band is the culmination of all students in grades 8 though 12, who have decided to make music a part of their daily lives here at CFIS. Each year, this band is full of talented and dedicated musicians who impress their audiences with several performances a year. 

CFIS music students in Grade 6 through 12 are also able to attend and compete at festivals both in the city of Calgary, and even in other provinces. Every other year, the CFIS senior concert band travels out of province to attend and compete at other music festivals.  

The CFIS music program not only gives each and every student the chance to feel what its like to be part of a band, but it also develops within the students a passion for music that can burn for years. 

Senior high band

Our senior high band practices together and seeks out performance venues within the community in addition to their participation in school concerts. This highly-refined group of musicians expands their skills and interests throughout the year playing from a wide-array of musical genres and styles as well as composing and solo performances. 

Visual arts

Here at CFIS...
we explore, we play, we learn, 
we share, we create, we reflect.
We develop a love for the visual arts.
2014-15 is going to be a great year!

Specialist art teachers work with students beginning in kindergarten and then up to Grade 12, depending on the Secondary Division student's choice of course options.

In our youngest grades, preschool and junior kindergarten, art is built into everyday life through learning stations where children explore national materials, a variety of art mediums and have access to create everyday. 

In our formal art classes, teachers combine study of technique and art history with class projects that are often influenced by the interests of students. In the younger grades, this might be a study of modern art through illustration of children's books, while in older grades, students might study the evolution of a modern style such as steampunk, and create art inspired from their research. 

A picture is worth a thousand words.
Une image vaut mille mots.
Una imagen vale más que mil palabras.

 

Our annual musical production

From Fame to the Adams family, for the past five years, our musicals have been a triumph of production and collaborative effort in the community.

Parents, students, alumni, faculty and staff start practice and preparation for the spring show in September with auditions, rehearsals and production meetings. 

Whether it’s acting, managing sound equipment, playing in the orchestra, selling tickets, organizing the concession, or applying performers’ make-up, nearly every stakeholder within the community is involved.

“Along the years, we have seen the community come together before the performances, helping with costumes, food service, set constructions, and teaching the cast,” states M. Aubert, our Musical Director. “I thank all those involved for your efforts to create enjoyable experiences for our junior and senior high students involved in the musical,” 

Even our alumni return to the school to play in the orchestra alongside parents and professional musicians. For more information or to volunteer for the musical, please contact M. Aubert at naubert@cfis.com

Arts options: Drama, animation, journalism

As part of our options program for Elementary and Secondary Division students, a variety of course options are offered each year. Which options are offered result from both consultations with the student population and the expertise that our faculty have to offer. 

Drama is offered at varying times of the year. Performances in French and English support the students language, public speaking and self-confidence. 

Our student newspaper and TV content reflects students’ interests and current events. Coursework will be diffused in both written and televised form.

Students will explore multimedia design and animation through creating storyboards, set construction, and the subsequent creation of an animated feature with clay characters.

Shakespeare residency program

The Shakespeare Residency Program is organized by the Secondary Division English Department faculty. Each class is provided with professional instruction by Quest Theatre for five to six hours in order to help them learn their scene. 

“This program provides a rare opportunity for students to learn Shakespeare in a kinesthetic manner, where they are moving and engaged."
~Mme. Chrapko about the benefits of the program for her students. 

The residency supports our English Language Arts program and helps students build confidence in their public performance abilities. 

A significant investment in time for our students and teachers and in financial resources for the school, CFIS holds this program every three years so that every student can gain the benefits it brings once as a junior high student and once as a senior high student.

This year students performed, Twelfth Night, a wonderful comedic play ensured the students thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Three years ago, our students presented A Midsummer Night’s Dream, receiving wonderful feedback from parents and students alike. 

This experience illustrates the dedication of CFIS to educating the whole child and allowing them to engage with curricular materials in a variety of ways.