Queens Paideia’s daily program includes classes in subjects that round out our students’ education and enhance their adult lives. These classes, though non-core subject areas, are constructed and implemented with the same degree of thought and detail found in the major components of our program. They are opportunities for students to learn new and enriching content and to apply their growing body of skills from other areas.
Students experience art at Queens Paideia as a joyous means of expression, collaboration, and building on their component skills. They learn about shapes (2- and 3-dimensional), color (mixing, juxtaposition, and impact), and dimension (perspective, foreground and background, shading) and how to implement these elements through projects involving various media. An annual progression of art projects typically includes drawing, painting, collage, mosaics, sculpture, photography, fiber arts, calligraphy, and printmaking. In all instances, students look at how notable artists have used these components to communicate their ideas and are given creative license to express their own.
Beliefs underlie not only our attitudes toward religion but also day-to-day experiences like what we eat and how we regard food, how we view people of other cultures, our feelings about birth and death, and issues surrounding social relations. Through respectful discussions, readings, presentations, guest speakers, sensory experiences, and writing assignments, Queens Paideia’s Belief Systems class guides students to explore what they believe and to analyze and evaluate differing opinions and sources.
All students at QPS participate in Belief Systems, with content and activities adjusted to age and skill levels, because it is a forum in which they can tie together their skills (including critical thinking) and knowledge from core academic and nonacademic areas and share with each other their ideas about issues that directly touch their lives.
Movement Education at Queens Paideia promotes lifelong habits of fitness, good nutrition, and general health maintenance. The program centers on developing student fitness and coordination skills, awareness about personal space, and control of the body. Students learn through activities that they can do on their own and with others, like stretching and running, strength- and endurance-building, cardio enhancement, yoga, zumba, and more. In addition, students learn about the importance of good nutritional and sleep habits, and the ways in which physical condition impacts emotional states, energy level, and the ability to learn.
Our goal is for students to take ownership for how they regard and treat their bodies. While movement education at QPS occurs during dedicated afternoon periods, it also occurs throughout the day as relevant topics arise, for example, in science and lunch/recess.
Music enriches lives, and is an even greater source of pleasure when one is an active listener who seeks to understand what a composer or musician is trying to accomplish through techniques, patterns, and language. Queens Paideia’s students have the opportunity to become active listeners, and appreciators, of the varied forms of music in our rich western musical traditions (classical, jazz, blues, folk, rock, pop) and in other lands and cultures and throughout history. Students learn to identify musical forms, instruments, styles, important composers, and seminal works from around the world and in key periods of music’s development. They learn to recognize and apply basic and universal elements of music—rhythm, notes, pitch loudness, and meter—and develop an ear for how music can express emotions and ideas.
Through Queens Paideia’s low student-teacher ratio, our students participate in immersion Spanish classes and work on varied activities—vocabulary-building exercises, verb conjugation, grammatical gender, early conversation, and reading and writing. Their growing ability to speak and understand Spanish, and to read and write it, results in a basic understanding of how the language works.
As students gain confidence and skills, they move on to more challenging activities, like translations, plays and other role-playing scenarios, book reports, dictations, and online programs. They practice and use more advanced grammar, including irregular verb conjugation and tenses, and are encouraged to speak as much as possible. Our instructor, a native speaker, speaks and responds solely in Spanish and is assisted by a Spanish-speaking learning aide. Native speakers benefit, too, as they work on their pronunciation and literacy skills by focusing on correct grammar, spelling, advanced conversation, and reading and writing.
Spanish language classes at QPS are grounded in real-life situations, such as going to the restaurant, shopping, communicating with friends and family, and visiting and learning about Spanish-speaking countries and cultures. They are an integrated component of Queens Paideia’s Social Studies program, a vehicle through which students can learn about culture—food, celebrations, music, beliefs, and so forth—around the world and, just as important, appreciate a significant portion of the diversity that defines Queens.