On May 22, the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts announced the cancellation of all summer shows and in-person programming through September, including at Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, due to the pandemic. It was heartbreaking news for many Northern Virginia families who traditionally spend summer days at Wolf Trap, both for concerts for the adults and educational programs for the kids.
But, just because Wolf Trap’s programs won’t be in person this season doesn’t mean that they are gone. Families can now access over 250 educational resources on Wolf Trap’s website, all available through the summer. We spoke with Jennifer Edelen, director of Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, to learn more.
“The Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts provides programs for children, mainly from birth to first grade,” Edelen says. “During this time, we wanted to continue to serve families and educators and to provide resources to the broader early childhood community. It’s critically important they have the tools they need to support children’s education and development.” Find details on Wolf Trap’s family offerings below.
Aimed at educators and parents, this arts-integrated resources page provides teaching strategies to incorporate at home, courtesy of Wolf Trap’s Master Teaching Artists, who incorporate movement, song, drama and puppetry into the lessons, as well as STEM. “Children are now at home full time with their parents and the parents want the best for their children,” Edelen says. “We want to give them those resources so that they can help their children grown and continue to develop. The experiences are meant for parents to look at and digest and share with their children at home.” New videos are posted weekly to the webpage.
Annually, Wolf Trap’s Grants for High School Performing Arts Teacher Program awards public high school music, dance and theater teachers for high-quality instruction and performance achievements. This year’s grantees and their students were originally slated to perform at The Barns, but are now not able to do so. Instead, Wolf Trap created a new digital platform called Wolf Trap Virtual Stage for honorees to upload their performances. And, students from all around, from elementary age to college, are now invited to add videos of themselves performing their art form as well. “It’s heartwarming to see the students because [the pandemic] is hard on older students as well,” Edelen says. “Especially those that we’re looking forward to performing together, coming to The Barns. It’s powerful to see their performances.”
Regardless of your child’s age, Wolf Trap’s online offerings have something for all stages of life. Families will soon be able to sign up for webinar workshops, where you can participate in arts-integrated exercises with your babies, toddlers and young children. The offerings will be in collaboration with Fairfax County Public Libraries, and as of press time, the start date had not yet been announced.
The organization is also kicking off Field Trip Fridays beginning on Friday, June 12, on Wolf Trap’s YouTube channel. The series will feature Small Bites performances and printable handouts to complement the session, and a new video will be posted each week.
“Everything is accessible via smartphone or laptop and it’s bite-sized, easily digestible,” Edelen says. “It’s interactive and that’s the beauty of arts integration. It’s multi-sensory, it’s engaging, it gets children up and moving to learn. It’s the nature of our work; it’s really meant to engage.”
For more details on all of Wolf Trap’s education offerings for families, visit wolftrap.org/education.
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