Wolf Trap Expands Network of Early Childhood Arts Education Affiliate Programs to San Antonio

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Dance specialist and Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artist Amanda Whiteman teaches spatial relations and counting. Credit Scott Suchman.

Vienna, Va. (March 9, 2016)—Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts today announced it will bring arts-based learning to preschool and kindergarten students in San Antonio, Texas, expanding its national network of partners committed to offering teachers high-quality, proven techniques to help young children learn. Through a new partnership with theArtsFund, a San Antonio nonprofit dedicated to using the arts to bridge achievement gaps, Wolf Trap will train teachers to incorporate innovative, arts-integrated learning strategies into all facets of the early childhood classroom.

theArtsFund will operate its programs as San Antonio Wolf Trap, using Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts’ proven professional development model, which pairs early childhood educators with professional teaching artists—musicians, dancer, actors, and puppeteers—for extensive training and in-class work with students. The teacher receives hands-on experience and coaching, working side by side with the teaching artist to develop arts-based skills and discover how to actively engage preschool and kindergarten students in core subjects, such as language, literacy, and math, through singing, dancing, role-playing, storytelling, and other activities grounded in performing arts.

theArtsFund announced the new San Antonio Wolf Trap program earlier today at a press conference at the Pre-K 4 SA South Education Center. At the event, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) and Dr. Libby Doggett, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy and Early Learning for the U.S. Department of Education, remarked on the importance of high-quality early childhood education and praised the San Antonio community for partnering with the Wolf Trap Institute to improve early learning experiences for its young children. Other speakers in attendance included Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts President and CEO Arvind Manocha, County Judge Nelson Wolff, Pre-K 4 SA CEO Kathy Bruck, and Chair of theArtsFund Board of Directors Suzanne Scott.  

“San Antonio is the ideal community for arts-based learning,” said U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett, an advocate for the Wolf Trap model. “Our city is alive with the arts and artists eager to share their talents with our youngest learners.  Children who participate in a program rich in the arts learn math and literacy, but most importantly, they learn to love learning.”

“We have seen through our programs, research, and experience that high-quality early education is essential to giving young children the best possible start in life and preparing students for long-term success in school and beyond,” said Manocha. “At Wolf Trap, we believe that infusing the arts into core subjects is one extremely effective way to provide those high-quality early learning experiences, and San Antonio educators, policymakers, and business leaders have already demonstrated their commitment to using arts-based strategies to enhance learning across the curriculum. We're thrilled to partner with theArtsFund to bring Wolf Trap Institute arts integration programs to the city and extend our network in the state of Texas.”

To implement San Antonio Wolf Trap programs in local preschool classrooms, theArtsFund has partnered with
Pre-K 4 SA, a City of San Antonio program designed to improve the quality and quantity of preschool education opportunities for four-year-olds. San Antonio Wolf Trap will begin offering programs as early as the spring of 2016 and will eventually bring arts-integrated learning to preschool students through all four of the Pre-K 4 SA learning centers. Several independent school districts have expressed interest in participating in the future as well.

San Antonio Wolf Trap programs will be led initially by four professional teaching artists specializing in drama and puppetry and will focus on methods of enhancing literacy. They will collaborate with early childhood educators to integrate artistic experiences into their classrooms.

theArtsFund President and CEO Rod Rubbo stated, “theartsfund is extremely excited to become a Wolf Trap Early Learning Through The Arts Affiliate and cannot wait to begin implementing the program in our area schools. Our inaugural class of teaching artists is set to go, and I know they will make a real difference with the students they work with."

“The Wolf Trap Institute model taps into children’s innate desire for active learning through the senses to engage them in subjects across the curriculum in new, memorable ways,” said Akua Kouyate-Tate, the senior director, education at Wolf Trap Foundation. “By bringing a story to life through dramatization, for example, children develop vocabulary and comprehension skills. Active participation in new stories, characters, and settings contributes to deeper and more meaningful experiences, which in turn creates excitement around books and the process of reading.”

Wolf Trap’s model has been verified by research that shows the potential for dramatic increases in student achievement. A
recent randomized study by the American Institutes for Research found that children in one Wolf Trap Institute program learned an equivalent of 1.3 months of learning in mathematics, or 26 additional days, than children in a control group. The research found a sustained impact amounting to 1.7 additional months of learning, or 34 additional days, even though not all students continued to be taught by teachers participating in the program.

In addition to the classroom residency program, San Antonio Wolf Trap will offer the full array of professional development workshops, training programs, and education resources available through Wolf Trap Institute. Each year, the Institute's programs provide early childhood education services for more than 50,000 young children and educators through a network for 17 affiliate programs across the U.S. and internationally.

For more information about Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, visit
www.wolftrap.org/education.

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Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts presents and produces a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, as well as nationally and internationally. Wolf Trap’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, which provides innovative arts-based teaching strategies and services to early childhood teachers, caregivers, and children from birth through Kindergarten.

theArtsFund is a San Antonio-based nonprofit with a mission to support arts in education by bringing innovative and inspiring arts programs to classrooms that help teachers to bridge achievement gaps in learning and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM. theArtsFund supports San Antonio Wolf Trap, an affiliate of the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through The Arts, which uses the performing arts to build young children’s school readiness while enhancing educators’ instructional skills through arts-integrated professional development.

For more information, interview requests and images, please contact:

Michelle Pendoley, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
michellep@wolftrap.org
O: (703) 255-1917