Hilltop Montessori holds annual Arts and Music Festival

MT LAUREL – Students at Hilltop Montessori recently celebrated the school’s annual weeklong Arts and Music Festival, which began on Monday, May 14.

According to Head of School Michele Wilensky, preschoolers through eighth graders each spent weeks working on an art project and rehearsing for music performances.

“It gives them the opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment,” Wilensky said.

Preschoolers, kindergarteners and middle school students showcased their talents during a concurrent art show and concert on the evening of May 14. A similar event for students in the first through sixth grades was held on the following evening.

While music and art have always been a part of Hilltop’s curriculum, Wilensky said an official week dedicated to them was not established until 10 to 15 years ago.

“A long time ago, we had a parent who had this idea,” Wilensky said. “We used to do a separate art show and a music performance, so we decided to put it all in one week.”

Wilensky said the art show and concert events were great for parents who might not have had the time to attend two separate school functions, as well as for grandparents who traveled from out of state.

Sixth grader Caleb Chapman said his favorite part was signing a song called “Peace Before Us,” which incorporated the use of American Sign Language. He said the music that was performed during the concert took an extra amount of creativity and dedication.

“I also liked that we played instruments instead of us using background music that was downloaded onto a speaker,” Caleb said. “We made our own music.”

Fourth grader Georgia Dunbar said she enjoyed making her art project, which involved drawing flowers, painting over them with black glue and painting over them again with watercolors.

Shortly after the end of standardized tests, and with only a few days before the end of the academic year, Wilensky said the Arts and Music Festival gave students one last thing to work on before summer.

“We use that week as a culmination of the school year,” Wilensky said. “It’s a nice way for the kids to stay focused on something.”