Desert Garden school revamps curriculum - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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Desert Garden school revamps curriculum

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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2014 6:45 am

To further student innovation, Desert Garden Montessori in Ahwatukee will be adding to its music program and launching its multimedia classes for the coming school year.

Multimedia classes will be offered to students in the middle school program, where they’ll work with software such as InDesign, Photoshop, Photocopy, Illustrator and Final Cut Pro.

“We are going to show them everything from how to use a camera, how to set up shots and story boarding and making their own little video,” said Freddy Cante, multimedia director.

Cante will also teach students graphic design and students will use what they learned to make all materials for the school’s events.

Cante believes the new program will see success due to its diversity and that Desert Garden Montessori (DGM) encourages creativity.

“The kids will have a hand on creating everything,” he said.

Additions to multimedia will also give students the opportunity to be “anchor for the week” where they’ll report on different topics throughout the school.

“They’ll shoot footage on what they find is a special-interest story around the campus,” said Shetal Walters, executive director and head of school at DGM. “We want to grow the social needs for our kids by expanding our program and opening up as much as we can to the community.”

A video yearbook with students at the helm of the project is also in the works.

The curriculum changes are a way to build infrastructure toward the school’s new high school building, which plans to open August 2015, Walters said.

The music program at DGM will get a revamp in its curriculum throughout the infant and middle school program.

“From infant through primary, they will be receiving instructions by Mary Hu with the Kodály method, which is a unique, specialized instruction for educating kids on music,” Walters said.

Dr. Katherine Shields will be instructing DGM first- through third-graders on the basics of playing the violin through the Suzuki method.

Walters said DGM wants to increase the fine arts experience by offering students more components.

“I think it is continuous to connect curriculum and to integrate it because it’s not one-dimensional anymore,” she said. “Because everything is the whole child, if you offer them the whole and show children how they connect, now you’ve hit a home run and learning becomes fun.”

Along with the music curriculum and multimedia classes, DGM instructors will integrate Spanish into their classrooms for four hours a day.

Enrollment for the middle school program is still open (with four slots to fill) for the 2014-15 school year.

For enrollment information at DGM, call (480) 496-9833.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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