Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the ArtsWolf Trap is leading the way in early childhood arts learning to help achieve national STEM education goals.

Bridging Two National Priorities:
STEM and Early Childhood Education

Across the country, lawmakers, educators, and business leaders are working together to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Out of 30 developed countries, U.S. students ranked 21st in science literacy and 25th in math literacy according to the most recent Program for International Student Assessment. Raising the performance of our students is a national priority.

STEM education must start in the earliest years at the time that children’s interests, desires, and abilities are formed. This important beginning leads to students' success and choices in elementary through high school math and science. Wolf Trap is taking a national leadership role in bridging these two education priorities by infusing the creativity of high quality arts education into early childhood STEM learning.

The Arts Make the Difference

Research shows that the arts support crucial developmental skills in creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. Wolf Trap is a proven leader in both integrating arts-based learning strategies that enhance the early childhood curriculum and providing engaging, effective professional development for early childhood educators. The Wolf Trap Institute’s arts-based teaching method taps into children’s innate desire for active, multisensory learning, as children literally embody concepts by singing and dancing, and engage their imagination through puppetry, story dramatization, and role play.

Wolf Trap Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts

Wolf Trap Foundation launched an innovative Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts initiative that builds upon its 30-year history developing and delivering early childhood arts education programs. The US Department of Education has awarded Wolf Trap a 4-year, $1.15 million grant under the Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant Program. Wolf Trap Education is partnering with Fairfax County Public Schools and American Institutes for Research to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate arts-integrated STEM teaching strategies that improve children's math learning. Yielding research-based content and model programs that can be expanded and replicated throughout the Wolf Trap Institute’s national network of regional partners, this project will have a profound impact toward achieving STEM-related education goals for young children.

Wolf Trap is also conducting professional development workshops for early childhood professionals at the Center for Education at Wolf Trap, in the local community; our Regional Programs, at conferences and through national partnerships.

Video: Early Childhood Arts Drive STEM Learning

Teaching Artists work side-by-side with early childhood educators to enhance learning in classrooms across the country. At a recent Summer Institute at the Center for Education at Wolf Trap, Teaching Artists build upon strategies that integrate the arts for enhanced math learning.

Media Coverage

United States Department of Education, "Wolf Trap Institute Unites the Arts and STEM in Early Childhood Learning," May 17, 2013

Hopewell News & Patriot, "STEM theory: Art, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math meet in education," October 31, 2012

The Dallas Morning News, "Irving school district selected for Wolf Trap Early Childhood program," October 31, 2012

The Progress Index (Petersburg, Virginia major daily paper), "Local preschoolers get jump on math, science," October 28, 2012

WRKF 89.3 (NPR Baton Rouge affiliate), "Interview with Akua Kouyate and Rachel Knudson," October 10, 2012

PBS Newshour, "STEAM Ahead: Merging Arts and Science Education," July 31, 2012

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, "Tots to learn math via dance," March 20, 2012

WUSA9 Cool Schools Segment, "Acting to learn math-Wolf Trap helps D.C. kindergarten," October 21, 2011

Huffington Post, "Classroom Heroes: D.C. performer Paige Hernandez reaches students through performing arts," March 22, 2011

Links to additional information:  
Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts - Grant Abstract
Press Release
Arts Education Partnership website
Arts Education Partnership - Arts in Education Week
White House Announces STEM Education Initiative
CNN.com article: US Students behind in math, science
STEM Early Learning Through the Arts Reference Books
STEM Early Learning Through the Arts Children's Literature 
Telos podcast
American Institutes for Research: Teacher Practice and Student Outcomes in Arts-Integrated Learning Settings: A Review of Literature 
Wolf Trap Early STEM Learning Through the Arts Propels Science Learning

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Support STEM

To find out how you can help support Wolf Trap's STEM Learning Through the Arts initiative, contact our Development Office at 703.255.1927 or email give@wolftrap.org.

Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts

Major Supporters - $100,000 and above

Northrop Grumman Foundation

TELOS Corporation

U.S. Department of Education Arts Education Model Documentation and Dissemination Grant Program

See list of all Wolf Trap STEM contributors

Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts

Math is Everywhere

“Math is truly everywhere in our lives, in cooking, getting dressed, figuring out money and travel time, among many other examples. With the arts, early childhood educators can take math off the printed page and make it three dimensional so young children can feel it and relate to it.”
– Maria Gallagher, M.ED.

Math in Motion

Wolf Trap has already conducted professional development workshops in math and science. Math in Motion expands teachers' ability to explore and support math fundamentals and concepts in the early childhood curriculum through dance and movement.

Professional Development Workshops

Workshops for Early Childhood Educators are available through the Institute and its regional and national programs.

Learn more about Workshops

See a list of available Workshops 

Classroom Residencies

A Wolf Trap residency is a partnership during which an artist comes to the early childhood classroom and demonstrates for the teacher how the performing arts can be used to teach curriculum topics.

Learn more about Residencies