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New partnership brings arts-based learning to Omaha Public Schools early childhood classrooms

Posted at 12:23 PM, Oct 05, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It's a program called Omaha Wolf Trap.

"The whole being, the total child is awakened through the performing arts," said Kofi Dennis, a teaching artist with Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts working with students and teachers at Conestoga Elementary.

The program adds music, like drums and movement to the classroom.

"The first thing in music that I share with teachers is the idea of steady beat, that all of us have this steady pause," said Dennis.

Omaha Performing Arts plans to pilot the program for this first year in partnership with OPS in 12 early childhood classrooms but wants to ensure access to the program.

"The goal is to expand it to any child and any school that might be interested in the future," said Kathleen Hustead, director of education with Omaha Performing Arts.

The program gives teachers strategies in the classroom.

"One thing that my kids have really adapted to is Mr. Cofi has this big black bag or a box that he keeps in the bag and they kind of have to use their imagination," said Taylor Griffith, an early childhood teacher at Conestoga Elementary.

Griffith said the lessons have helped with her confidence in using music. The program blends performing arts with the daily curriculum.

"Right now we are learning about trees and I have never seen my students be so actively engaged," said Griffith.

Creatively engaging our communities youngest learners, while empowering teachers to implement something new.

To learn more about Wolf Trap visit wolftrap.org/education

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