Supporting the Wolf Trap Institute Model

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January 13, 2014

During the Fall 2013 grant cycle the MAXIMUS Foundation Board of Directors decided to renew Foundation support for the Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts (Institute) operated by Wolf Trap. Funds provided to the Institute will support services throughout the Greater Washington, DC community during the 2013-14 school year.

Wolf Trap’s Institute promotes school readiness among children and provides teachers and parents/caregivers with arts-infused strategies to foster age-appropriate literacy and STEM learning. Services are targeted to chidren who live in economically disadvantaged circumstances (defined as 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level) and the teachers who work with these children. The Institute, which initially focused on literacy skills, now also addresses age appropriate math, science and engineering learning via Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts (Early STEM/Arts).

At the heart of the Wolf Trap Institute, Classroom Residencies bring performing artists trained in Wolf Trap’s model into schools and community centers to provide innovative and effective arts-based strategies to align with curriculum objectives. Each residency is designed in coordination with the classroom teacher to address students’ needs. The program provides in-classroom professional development for pre-K and Kindergarten educators, enabling them to integrate the performing arts into their lesson plans. Improving early childhood educators’ ability to achieve learning objectives for children in their classrooms yields a greater, more sustained impact, as teachers will use the arts strategies throughout their careers. 88 percent of participating classroom teachers either agree or strongly agree that they will continue to draw upon the strategies and experiences they developed with their Teaching Artist, that they learned how to use the arts to develop emergent literacy experiences, and that the Teaching Artists’ strategies were developmentally appropriate.

Wolf Trap Institute will serve approximately 6,000 children, educators, and families throughout the Greater Washington DC community during the 2013-14 school year.

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