Elementary/Middle School Special Programs

Physical Education

Mind and Body

Studies have shown that better school performance and increased self-esteem are directly tied to increased physical activity. At Dearborn, we know that physical activity is important to fostering academic success. From short, in-class exercise breaks to daily recess, sports or a crew club, we actively seek ways to increase our students’ physical activity.


Technology as a Tool

In an era when students everywhere are accessing information by ‘googling’, staying in touch with friends using social media and sharing very personal information on very public sites, it is clear that we have an important role to play in the way technology is taught at Dearborn.


In the Elementary/Middle School, students use the latest technology to develop basic computing and typing skills.  Using the internet as a learning tool allows students to easily access a treasure trove of information and ideas as they explore their world. With the help of classroom teachers, our youngest students learn computer programming, digital photography, image editing, music creation and web design. While the skillful use of technology is often the focus; it is through games, in-class discussions and collaborative projects that the students are guided in how to use these tools safely and ethically.

Shop and Arts

Create, Explore, Imagine

Woodworking and arts classes help students connect their imagination to a mindful process. Through the arts, they build capacity for focus, patience and self-control, all while creating work they can be proud of. At Dearborn our arts programs provide students with an important avenue for self-expression and creative development. 


Elementary and middle school students have art class year round. The classes are small, with about eight to nine students per class. Every student also has woodworking twice a week. Like most classes at Dearborn, woodworking classes are small (three to six students), well supervised, and run with an emphasis on safety.


During their daily choice time, middle school students can also choose extra time in the art studio or shop. 


In both art and woodworking classes, students have the chance to explore creatively in a physically and emotionally safe space. One 13-year-old student said that his woodworking project, “was the first thing he had ever made” that he was pleased with. Graduates often tell us that they still have things they made when they were Dearborn students. We take pride in offering access to these activities, which which remain unavailable in many out of district settings.


Art Studio

In the art studio, students are exposed to a variety of art experiences and build self-confidence through creativity, imagination, and problem solving. Assignments include drawing, painting, paper mache, pottery and more. The curriculum teaches students local and international art, and emphasizes the importance of personal expression. Whenever possible, we tie art projects into what’s being studied in academic classes.


Wood Shop

For many students, woodworking class is a refuge where they can see the immediate results of their efforts. Some students show real talent, and their newfound confidence can then transfer back to the academic classroom. Woodworking also reinforces skills such as basic mathematics (using a number line/ruler, fractions, and angles), fine motor skills, planning and goal setting.


Woodworking projects are tailored to each student’s skill level and they grow in sophistication as students progress. As in art studio, those students who want more time in the woodworking classroom can come in during their free periods to work on individual projects.


We are so lucky to collaborate with our Newton neighbors, In Home Jams (IHJ), to offer music classes to all Dearborn students. Teacher musicians from IHJ come to our music room twice a week. 


All Monday classes are Live Music classes. That is, students will be playing live instruments individually and in groups. Some sessions emphasize guitar, keyboard, or percussion or a mix of all three depending on who signs up. Others session will be band sessions where students play different instruments together. 

All Friday classes focus on Electronic Music. Early classes are devoted to beat-making, creating loops, and mixing. Later classes use the electronic music workstation to facilitate songwriting and recording.


Come play music with us!


A Variety of Experiences

Enrichment classes can be athletic or creative; they can teach useful life skills or just be plain fun. Changing content regularly generates enthusiasm among the students and takes advantage of diverse faculty skills and areas of interest. These classes supplement Dearborn’s challenging academic schedule and play an important role in shaping a positive Dearborn experience.   

Classes are taught by specialists, clinicians, and milieu counselors in addition to our teaching staff. They expand the educational and social experiences of students and provide them with more opportunities to make choices. Typical choices within the Elementary/Middle School include:

  • cooking
  • strategy games
  • arts and crafts
  • woodworking challenges
  • sports

Our goal is to encourage students to try new things and to develop the confidence to pursue them. Enrichment classes often enhance what students do in their other classes and provide for additional opportunities to work in small groups.