JMU Brings 'Wolf Trap Teaching Artists' to Harrisonburg

From: Public Affairs

February 5, 2008

HARRISONBURG Ė A group of teaching artists from The Wolf Trap Institute will visit Harrisonburg March 3-7. The one-week residency program will be delivered by Wolf Trap in collaboration with James Madison University's Outreach Programs.
The artists will provide lessons for children and teachers in all 31 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms in Harrisonburg elementary schools: Keister, Spotswood, Stone Spring and Waterman.

The goal of the program is to build relationships between artists and early childhood professionals, according to Carol Fleming, director of Outreach Programs. "We will host artists from all over the country who are trained to work with early elementary educators to integrate performing arts techniques into the daily curriculum," Fleming said.

About the Wolf Trap Program
The teaching artists are employed through the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. They are professional artists who have experience working with young children. Their specialties include creative dramatics, storytelling, puppetry, instrumental and vocal music, and dance and movement. For more information about Wolf Trap and all its education programs, call (800) 404-8461 or visit

While in Harrisonburg, the artists will offer workshops at numerous times and locations. "Our hope is that by providing so many opportunities, all interested parents, teachers and childcare providers will be able to attend," Fleming said.

Partner Organizations
Primary funding for this initiative comes from a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia to the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. The initiative is also supported by local partners including all four Harrisonburg elementary schools and the Parent Teacher Associations at Keister, Spotswood and Stone Spring and Harrisonburg City Schools.

"Young children love learning through the arts," said Don Ford, school board superintendent. "Weíre thrilled to join JMU's Outreach Programs in this important effort to provide children with the benefits an early start in arts education can bring."

A grant from the Arts Council of the Valley will be used toward travel and lodging expenses for the artists. "We are pleased to serve as a catalyst for this program and to encourage more opportunities for arts in local education," said Kai Degner, executive director of the Arts Council. "Uniting with this prestigious, national organization is a great opportunity for our community."

Artists' Activities
Elementary School Residency: Artists will spend each day working in pre-K and kindergarten classrooms in all four Harrisonburg elementary schools. Artists will lead as many as four lessons per day.

Programs for Families: Artists will offer workshops for parents and families at the end of each school day. "Most of these begin around the same time that parents are picking up their children from school," Fleming explained. "Families can stay an extra hour and participate."

Programs for Teachers and Childcare Providers: Teachers can learn techniques to integrate the arts into their lesson plans and earn Continuing Education Credits. Professional development programs begin at 4 p.m. at JMUís Memorial Hall.

Programs for the Community: Many of the after-school lessons for families will be repeated at 6:30 p.m. at JMUís Memorial Hall. Public parking is available in Lot B, between the building and stadium.

Schedule of Community and Family Workshops
Community and family workshops are designed for children age 5 and under and their parents, but older children are welcome. Participation is free. To register, call 540-568-4255.

March 4:
Jody Fabso Cassell, North Carolina Wolf Trap Artist, presents "Journeys All Around Us: Exploring Creative Movement and Story in the Early Childhood Classroom"
Family Workshop: 5:30 p.m., Keister Elementary School
Community Workshop: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Hiner Room, Memorial Hall, JMU

Kofi Dennis, D.C./Maryland/Virginia Wolf Trap Artist, presents "Engaging Young Children In Call and Response Experiences"
Family Workshop: 3:30 p.m., Waterman Elementary School
Community Workshop: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Hiner Room, Memorial Hall, JMU

March 5:
Gary Lapow, California Wolf Trap Artist, presents "Sing It, Shape It, Write It Yourself"
Community Workshop: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Hiner Room, Memorial Hall, JMU

Kathleen Lynam, Nashville Wolf Trap Artist, presents "Let Your Voices Be Heard: Using Puppets To Bring Stories To Life"
Family Workshop: 3:30 p.m., Stone Spring Elementary School
Community Workshop: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Hiner Room, Memorial Hall, JMU

March 6:
Cynthia Elek, Arizona Wolf Trap Artist, presents "And The Beat Goes On: Keeping The Beat With 0-3s"
Family Workshop: 3:15 p.m., Spotswood Elementary School
Community Workshop: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Hiner Room, Memorial Hall, JMU

Roberta Lucas, Michigan Wolf Trap Artist, presents "Everybody Can Dance and Every Body Can Dance"
Community Workshop: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Hiner Room, Memorial Hall, JMU

For more information, contact Jamie Marsh in JMUís Office of Public Affairs at 540-568-4908 or by e-mail at

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