Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble believes every child should have access to and receive a quality arts program, regardless of their background. Since our founding in 2001 we have provided an arts education program, and since 2008 we have been a Chicago Public Schools qualified vendor. Our program focuses on schools that
Providing this curriculum is particularly critical, as children transition back to in-person school over the next few months. While the full impact is yet to be known, studies are predicting that, as a result of the global pandemic, school-age children will be between six to nine months behind in reaching critical milestones. Not only are children experiencing academic setbacks, but they are also unable to engage in activities that promote social/emotional development. As the NEA report notes, the arts give children the ability to handle stressors, the degree to which they are experiencing today has not been seen in 100 years. This is particularly critical in our under-resourced communities, hardest hid by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure that all children have access to a comprehensive arts education from PreK through 1st grade, and one that provides social/emotional develoment, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble is creating a precise, week-by-week program customized for each age group we serve, made possible through a grant from Innovation 80, received in January 2021. In addition to creating a program specific to this age group, CDE will also be standardizing our program so that all teaching artists can teach dance, visual art, theatre, and music.
Working from the Illinois state standards for arts education, CDE will create a “one stop shop” program that bridges all art forms in either a 10-week, 20-week, or school year-long program and can be taught easily by teaching artists and replicated throughout Chicago. This curriculum will expose students to the arts early in their educational experience, teach them social/emotional learning skills, and promote reading and literacy.
This 18-month project will involve creating model curricula, testing it with our current partner schools, and training our core teaching artists to then train additional teaching artists. Our goal is to roll out the “road-tested” model curriculum in Fall 2022, establishing early childhood residencies at five new schools, reaching 1,000 more students. We can make this expansion possible through government, private foundation, individual, and participant support.
If you are an educator, or if you know a school that would benefit from this program, please reach out to us to start the conversation.
Studies show that providing children with an arts curriculum during early childhood can have a profound positive impact on their future success. A 2011 National Endowment for the Arts report, The Arts and Human Development, noted several evidence-based studies that found, in comparison to control groups,
Arts education is crucial for students.