Letters and Speech

We believe that language skills are acquired best through a performative approach in which reading, writing, and speaking well are taught as pleasurable activities that grow out of vivid texts and shared creation. Early skills are then honed through the study of grammar, rhetoric, and literary performance as children mature.

Language richness, diversity and complexity will envelop all MUSE students beginning in pre-K. Our language acquisition approach transitions from group storytime and reading circles to leveled reading in small groups. Fundamentals of alphabet, phonics, handwriting, and simple word recognition transition into daily writing assignments, rapid vocabulary acquisition, and explicit study of grammar and syntax. The acquisition of language and speech will result naturally in an effort to more fully express oneself, understand others and explore the world.

MUSE families are expected to make daily reading and discussion in the home a shared ritual that expands on skills learned during the school day, with regular guidance provided as to texts that will engage students' imaginations and reinforce fluency. Beginning in second grade, MUSE students are introduced to age appropriate literary genres through readings from short stories, poems, dramatic excerpts, and fairy tales. Our approach to literature blends reading for plot, character, and message with performative interpretation and adaptation in dramatic scenes, dance and songs. In this way, a cultural heritage becomes a living tradition that must continually be made new by young scholars and artists.

By fifth grade, MUSE students are ready to engage in more formal literary analysis and will be writing short essays drawing on their knowledge of narrative structure, character development, historical context, and poetic devices. They will be well positioned for study of more sophisticated literary works and able to craft new works of both individual expression and group collaboration with their fellow MUSE classmates.

 
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Mathematics

A passion for mathematics begins early at MUSE Academy, with a pre-K and K curriculum that builds early number sense and geometrical awareness using manipulatives, song, dance, arts, and creative play. Math is presented as another field of creation and exploration, through which children can model the world around them and test their ideas.

Our approach begins with tactile and kinesthetic learning, and then progressively builds to broader conceptual understanding. Process fluency and ability to deploy multiple strategies are reinforced through social learning in pairs and small groups, where students construct and defend arguments. The journey to math discovery is given equal weight with the correct results. Mathematical concepts are introduced in their historic context, and tied to the feats of architecture, scientific knowledge, and human organization that they enabled.

The MUSE math curriculum draws from instructional principles that have been demonstrated to enable both accelerated acquisition of mathematical competence and contextual learning that makes these skills meaningful and sticky.

 

Science

 

Our science curriculum ignites a sense of wonder and drive to understand the world by progressing from visual learning and tactile experimentation, to analytical skills and tools. We present science as an ongoing and unfinished project that MUSE students actively participate in as future scholars and citizens.

The pursuit for scientific knowledge perfectly embodies MUSE Academy's inquiry-based educational approach. Sparked by a natural curiosity and wonder, students embark on a quest to more fully comprehend the world. It begins with a thoughtful question that opens a realm of possibilities. Close integration with mathematics leads to the direct application of concepts, skills, and models that can then be applied to understand nature and engineering through practical application in tactile and visual exercises.

Students begin to develop their skills of observation, experimentation, and questioning in ways that stimulate their senses. Starting in kindergarten, math, science and engineering specialists join students as they broaden their awareness and abilities. Investigations grow into units of study with increasingly sophisticated tools.

The scientific method is learned as a core method of inquiry that can be applied to explorations of the natural world and solving pressing social problems. MUSE scholars quest for knowledge takes students outside the realm of school to museums, laboratories, forests, and beyond.

Upper elementary students utilize technology as topics become more abstract and content deepens. Scientific reading and writing grow in importance, as students master how to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Scientific discovery is presented in a historical context to emphasize the contributions of civilizations including Ancient Greco-Roman, Arabic, Chinese, Egyptian, African, and European to the accumulation of human knowledge.

 
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Humanities

 

At MUSE Academy, the study of Humanities encompasses all the ways human beings seek to answer fundamental questions about their place in the world and their ability to effect change. Myth, history, literature, and civics are explored in a spiral fashion that adds complexity and depth as children's understanding matures. Questions and lessons are sequenced to when children are ready to ask them. The study of Humanities at once seeks to transmit the riches of a cultural heritage, and provide young scholars and citizens with the analytical tools to examine and reshape these traditions to their current needs.

In a developmentally appropriate way, themes are explored and connections are discovered with arts, math, and sciences. In second grade, a study of the African diaspora in the New World might be explored through reading slave journals, learning to play talking drums, and performing spirituals to their peers in choir. By fifth grade, a segment on the Roman empire might employ an economic analysis of feeding Rome's populace, a dance interpretation of Caesar and Cleopatra's first meeting, and a gallery exhibition inspired by excerpts from Ovid's Metamorphoses.

 Through daily study of the humanities, MUSE students will engage in profound, philosophical discussions that both enlighten and challenge them. Interdisciplinary studies of literature, history, geography and economics will combine to reveal a clearer portrait of human psychology and sociology. Students will be exposed to the rich complexities of human history and provide them the ability to assume a more nuanced and global perspective.

 
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Languages

 

There is overwhelming evidence that the study of foreign languages at a young age promotes critical thinking, mental agility, and creativity. Young children's language acquisition abilities are plastic and expansive; they are able to intuitively incorporate new sounds and word patterns that cause adults and even teens to stumble. At MUSE Academy we provide daily, immersion study of Spanish beginning in Pre-K 3, and then add additional language options in later years.

At MUSE Academy, Spanish is taught through speaking, naming, singing, and call and response. From the moment students begin their language class, not a word of English is spoken, so that castellano becomes a second "mother tongue."  Daily language practice to build confidence, vocabulary, and oral fluency are first, with grammar and written expression built later, just as students learned their first language. Living in Brooklyn, students have multiple opportunities to practice their language skills with neighbors and on community field trips and projects.

In later grades, MUSE Academy language instruction broadens to include optional immersion Mandarin classes and study of Latin, which provides a natural transition as a Romance language that helps to both deepen the understanding of humanist thought and enrich the vocabulary of middle schoolers. French and Italian provide an entree into advanced study of opera, drama, and literature in the high school years.

 
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Visual Arts at MUSE

Visual Arts are one of the most unique branches of the creative experience and provide a natural complement to music and performance.  

At MUSE Academy, the visual arts are integrated with the academic subjects from the earliest age. Primordial lines, shapes, and colors morph into the illustration of story time tales. Dramatic play evolves into pictorial narratives and this in turn hones the fundamentals of scenery design. Drawing and painting help exercise nascent fine motor skills while sparking creative associations and provide a portal into imagined worlds. Visual representations connect our scholars to realms of myth and history in a way that is at once tangible and transporting.

The MUSE Visual Arts curriculum aims to provide an informed understanding of “Art through Inquiry” through dialogue, discussion, and interaction, as well as a well exploring the historical context of the content, materials and the medium. We believe the making of art provides the opportunity for experiential learning through directly engaging with the fusion of materials, ideas, and dreams.

 Our mission is to provide all students with continuous, sequential instruction and study of the arts that will challenge students to synthesize skills, media, methods, and technologies. Drawing and painting open the door to animation, stop-motion video, photography and study of history of art in later years.  At each age, MUSE students gain confidence by creating and presenting works of art that explore their relationship to the world around them and their inner worlds.

 
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