Intermediate Design offers a visual component with every major unit of study. Starting with careful contour drawings of still life objects students look at the diverse drawing styles of Van Gogh, Henry Moore, and Matisse. Experimentation with different types of marks using pen, charcoal, and pencil, students learn perspective and shading in drawing. Detailed observing and recording of the Arbor wood's plants, shrubs and trees reveal contour lines, specific vein information, and leaf margins that result in a plant guide card set. Color blending, using layers of color, pencil, crayon, watercolor and ink offer new ways of creating nature printing. World biome and habitat studies allow students the opportunity to work with new 2-D and 3-D media. Portraiture and mapping enhance two other major Intermediate units of study, the human body and local and world geography.Senior Design works together with Humanities to enhance the children's understanding of the Peoples of the World curriculum. Throughout their three years as Seniors, students will work in a variety of media including clay, wood, metal, glass, fibers, drawing, painting, printmaking, and book arts. Projects are derived from the Humanities curriculum, which provides a template for ways that intentional content can inform and strengthen technical skills. In addition to the metalsmithing work done in Year 3, for instance, students look at the first writing in Sumer, and use cuneiform and cylinder seals as inspiration do a relief carving in clay to tell a story for younger children at Arbor. As the year progresses students explore both the systems and structures of writing and architecture, clay, and glass.
The Design Studio enriches the K-3rd curriculum by providing the space necessary for exploring multiple materials used in ceramic work, weaving, woodworking, color mixing, sculpture, printmaking, sewing, and papermaking and bookbinding. Teaching in the Design Studio strives to strike a balance between direct instruction of technique while leaving room for productive experimentation with materials.