The Play's the Thing: Theatre Arts and School Readiness in Low-Income Preschoolers

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Humphrey School of Public Affairs - Room 205

Amy Susman-Stillman, Center for Education and Early Development, University of Minnesota

Integrating the arts into everyday activities is part of best practices in early childhood education. States are developing early learning standards of skills for young children which are fostered through theatre arts activities, including critical skills such as listening, speaking, imagining, inventing, creating and critically responding.  An intentional emphasis on integrating theatre arts into early childhood education is emerging, providing promising opportunities to engage early learners, increase their school readiness skills, and decrease the seemingly intractable achievement gap. This presentation will describe a program of work to create and measure the benefits of theatre arts programming for young children’s school readiness.

Amy Susman-Stillman, Ph.D., is Director of Applied Research and Training at the Center for Early Education and Development (CEED), University of Minnesota. Dr. Susman-Stillman’s interests focus on promoting strategies to improve the quality of early care and education, meeting the diverse needs of the early care and education workforce, and enhancing the impact of assessment in the field.  For the last 7 years, she has been working with the Children's Theatre Company to evaluate Early Bridges, their preschool theatre arts outreach program, and develop new ways to assess preschool children's theatre arts skills.