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At Pacific Northern Academy, we know a child's mind is open and active, and that's exactly why integrate Performing Arts, Studio Arts, Physical Education and Spanish  into the core curriculum. We want children to fully access their talent and creativity by having opportunities to engage in everything from the arts to athletics.​

Performing Arts


For all students, music can be a catalyst toward maximum development of individual potential - aesthetically, academically, personally and socially. Music is an essential part of a balanced curriculum and has a language of its own. Along with fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the arts, the development of musicianship is the goal of the performing arts program. For those students for whom further study in music is appropriate, the foundation is laid. Additionally, the music program offers a way for individual students to be a part of a team and enhances the overall strength of the school community.


The Performing Arts curriculum is based on classroom learning as well as public performance. Skills learned in the classroom include:

  • Rhythm -the feel of a pulse/steady beat, appropriate movement in response to the beat, and recognizing symbols and beat patterns

  • Melody/Harmony - singing with appropriate pitch and tone, recognizing tonal differences, creating one’s own melody, singing/playing duets and rounds

  • Form - recognizing phrases, sections, and names of forms through listening, singing, and playing

  • Expression/Context - dynamics, tempo, timbre/instrument grouping, and interpretation as well as historical, cultural, and genre appreciationDrama - acting, character study, elocution, improvisation, theatre terms

  • Performance - participation in musicals, skits, choir, and individual performances as appropriate to grade levels

Each year, PNA puts on a fall/winter concert that showcases each class through singing, playing classroom instruments, Middle School choir and drama, and all-school group songs.


Later in the school year, the students can volunteer to show their talents as individuals or small groups by performing at the Brown Bag concerts. This is a week-long event held during lunch where all students eat together in the gym and perform for each other.


In the spring, students participate in a musical production. Students prepare their materials in class and aid in the making of sets and props. Past productions have included The Music Man, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Pirates of Penzance, Schoolhouse Rock, and The King and I, to name a few.

Studio Arts 


In Studio Art at Pacific Northern Academy, students learn that the process, rather than the product of art, is what is most important. There is no right or wrong way in art, but what works and is effective; the act of creating the pieces themselves is the process that brings students to true awareness of his or her work. The process of art involves learning and using concepts, techniques, practicing our skills and studying the masters.

The Studio Arts program uses a multidisciplinary, multiple intelligences approach for classroom work. Each grade level has objectives based on the following:

  1. Readiness Skills—based on age and individual appropriateness;

  2. Performance Skills—based on skills and techniques learned in class and manifested in class;

  3. Aesthetic Skills—based on the ability to relate history of art discussions to daily life and other schoolwork;

  4. Problem-solving and Creative Skills—based on exercises developed in class;

  5. Professional Craftsmanship Skills—learning the skills necessary to organize and finish work.

In May, an all school art exhibit is presented for the parents and students to enjoy viewing a work from each student. This cumulative effort is a culmination of the art experiences of the year.


​​ Through the arts we are teaching resilience. Our teachers don't say "Maybe art isn't for you"; instead they say "Wow. I really like your drawing. What do you like about it? What was hard for you? Yeah, that high note is a tough one. Let's run through it again.This time pretend you are singing through your nose." They teach that a forgotten line and a misshapen head are not indicators of a lack of talent; merely an indicator that more practice is needed. Students learn that to get good at something they have to develop technique and then practice applying it to their particular project. By being willing to try more  than once, taking risks, making mistakes, and integrating critical feedback, they not only improve the outcome of their project, they improve  their  own outcomes in what they choose to do in life. 

Physical education

Pacific Northern Academy focuses on educating the entire student and Physical Education contributes to that goal by developing an understanding and appreciation of movement that will last far beyond the student’s years at PNA.

Students have the opportunity to become exceptional learners in the area of movement through classroom activities that engage their bodies, minds, and spirits.  As independent thinkers, they develop an understanding of movement concepts while learning the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and officiating.

Some of the skills developed include:
  • Dynamic Strategies

  • Endurance

  • Flexibility & Range of Motion

  • Game Rules & Procedures

  • Leadership

  • Muscle Development

  • Object Manipulation

  • Spatial Awareness

  • Sport Etiquette

  • Sportsmanship

  • Social Skills

  • Team Communication

  • Teamwork

The curriculum incorporates the President's Challenge and the National Standards for Physical Education and Health, as well as many sources that reinforce the key concepts of movement and an active lifestyle.

In the Middle School health class, students learn about all wellness aspects including physical, academic, social, and emotional. Classes enhance students' understanding of their body and mind and give them a chance to ask questions and discuss topics in a safe environment.


It's just running around, playing tag and dodgeball right? 

Wrong! Physical Education at PNA is much more than just free time and chaos. Each grade spends the first few weeks of class working through some fun games and activities that promote a strong sense of community and teamwork. In order for each student to feel comfortable in gym class, they need to be supported by their fellow classmates and understand that each student is at a different place in their physical fitness and skills.


One thing that makes PNA unlike most schools is the freedom we have to spend time exploring our physical fitness outdoors. We are a hop, skip and a jump away from Ruth Arcand Park where we utilize their trail system and explore various types of terrain. Students thoroughly enjoy the freedom and adventure that is promoted through the various games and activities from trail running to hopping up and over logs. PNA students also learn and play a lot of indoor sports as well. By breaking down the skills and practicing them with repetition, students are able to work at their own pace and increase their skills in a controlled environment.


PNA students are immersed in Spanish language and culture during their Spanish classes, which, depending on the grade level, meet from two to four times weekly. In the Early Kindergarten and Kindergarten children learn through the use of songs, games, and kinesthetic activities, which are based on the methods by which young children learn their first language. Each session involves a fun, immersive experience in which students participate and play while using Spanish. The students gain comfort in using their own voices in the target language and have fun doing it using PNA's wealth of Spanish language and cultural resources.


In 1st through 5th grade, the curriculum incorporates a valuable set of new and effective language teaching techniques.The Total Physical Response method, pioneered by Dr. James Asher, is regarded as one of the most effective methods of language instruction and is in practice in language classrooms around the world. Similarly, the newest and most highly reputed methods that students begin to experience in these years is the Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling method, or TPRS. This involves utilizing comprehensible input in the context of student/instructor co-created stories, utilizing relevant modern subject matter and a good dose of humor and interactivity. Both methods utilize students’ natural language-learning abilities and incorporate kinesthetic movement, comprehensible input, and maximum repetition to optimize retention.  Information is presented in an immersive and interactive manner incorporating music, art, literature, poetry, and the skills necessary for daily interaction in the target language.  Students in the lower school progressively build vocabulary and confidence in their own second language speaking abilities, while also incorporating cultural studies and a 21st-century worldview that the students will benefit from their entire academic careers.


In the Middle School,  students are given a more advanced and heartier dose of the TPR and TPRS methods utilized with Lower School students. This incorporates stories, dialogues, role-plays, games, and cartoons, introducing a variety of Spanish expressions which students are asked to interpret, respond to, retell, and rewrite in their own words. Grammar analysis is carried out within the context of stories, prompting students to internalize the language in chunks rather than word-by-word translation. Additionally, the students’ communication skills are developed through the exchange of meaningful dialog as opposed to through grammar drills and exercises.  This, of course, is also not at the expense of real, effective, in-depth grammar instruction, which provides a solid, lasting base for language learning to blossom and grows exponentially when supported by the TPRS framework.  Additionally, students have weekly cultural lessons, teaching both Latin American and Spanish social studies material, as well as a healthy dose of real-world interaction and conversational cultural skills, preparing students for a life of successful multicultural interaction.


PNA's Standards for Learning Spanish align with state and national benchmarks and standards. The concepts presented comply with the five major organizing principles of the Standards of Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century identified by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The ACTFL standards for learning Spanish are Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.


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Monday-Friday 8:30 am to 3:15 pm

Extended Day Program: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm

Front Office 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Contact information


2511 Sentry Drive, Suite 100

Anchorage, Alaska 99507

Tel: (907) 333-1080 Fax: (907) 333-1652


Pacific northerN academy is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization
tax id: 92-0145501