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The way we engage children in the first years of their lives has a profound impact on future learning and success.

High-quality early childhood education is absolutely essential to giving children the best possible start in school and in life. Decades of practice and research prove that integrating the arts into classroom experiences contributes to greater academic achievement and social/emotional development for our youngest students.

A national leader in early childhood arts education since 1981, the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts trains teachers in the use of arts-based strategies to enrich early childhood learning.

As the Maryland regional affiliate of Wolf Trap, Young Audiences expands access to the arts for Maryland’s youngest students during the critical early learning years.

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Wolf Trap Residencies

Each residency includes embedded professional development to build teachers’ skills and confidence in arts integration techniques so that the arts remain a strong part of their lessons after the residency ends. Teachers will learn effective ways to engage students in participatory activities that involve all the senses and encourage critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.

The 16-Session Literacy Residency

Wolf Trap's signature 16-Session Literacy Residencies are designed to be highly collaborative and creative partnerships between teaching artists and educators to improve students’ literacy skills. In each residency, a Wolf Trap teaching artist shares how to use the performing arts to engage students and enrich their learning environment.

The STEM Learning Through the Arts Residency

Wolf Trap has partnered with Young Audiences for the regional dissemination of its STEM Learning Through the Arts residencies. These programs address a need for innovative STEM teaching and learning strategies in the early childhood community while providing groundbreaking research into early childhood STEM learning.

During the program dissemination teaching artists and teachers will be actively engaged in implementing strategies and content that correlate fundamentals of dance, drama, and music with math learning outcomes in areas such as geometry and spatial relations, number and operations, pattern, measurement, and math reasoning.

"This program has made me more confident in getting my students up and moving. I now feel comfortable integrating performing arts into my curriculum, lessons, and activities in a meaningful, productive, and comprehensive manner so my students are having fun and learning at the same time."


—Kim, Patapsco Elementary Middle Teacher

"Wolf Trap programs reinvigorate teachers to instruct students beyond paper and pencil. Teachers learn new strategies [through the arts] that scaffold the Common Core standards, while students engage in the enthusiasm of the artist and teacher working together."


—Terri Core, PreK Education Manager, Baltimore City

Proven Results: Wolf Trap programs lead to teacher professional growth and student preparedness for our youngest learners.

Study results demonstrate that preschool children whose classes and teachers participated in classroom residencies by a Wolf Trap-trained teaching artist made quantifiable improvement in the following six categories:

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+ INITIATIVE
+ SOCIAL RELATIONS
+ LOGIC & MATHEMATICS
+ LANGUAGE & LITERACY
+ CREATIVE REPRESENTATION
+ MOVEMENT & MUSIC

Independent research shows that Wolf Trap Institute’s approach leads to improved student preparedness and teacher professional growth, including:

Higher standardized test scores

Children who participated in a Wolf Trap program scored significantly higher on standardized tests measuring initiative, language, logic, and other key skills.

Increased language development

Children whose teachers participated in a multi-year Wolf Trap program showed improvements in language development, particularly African-American students and English Language Learners from low-income communities.

34 days of extra learning in math

Students in Wolf Trap classrooms gained the equivalent of 34 days of math learning after one year of the program.

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Training Teachers

Through classroom residencies and workshops, Wolf Trap teaching artists train teachers to use performing arts techniques to enhance instructional practice and achieve curriculum goals set for young children. The focus is on essential areas such as math, language arts, performing arts fundamentals, critical thinking, and collaboration.

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Engaging Children

Teachers use the arts to tap into children’s innate desire for active, multisensory learning. Children from infancy to kindergarten literally embody cognitive, physical, and social skills when—through singing, dancing, storytelling, and role-playing—their imaginations are engaged.

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Measuring Impact

Wolf Trap Institute strategies directly support curriculum goals for early childhood education. Research shows a significant increase in math, literacy, and basic life skills among children who have participated in a classroom residency.

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