UTC-Wolf Trap Partnership a First in Higher Education

Wolf Trap, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Siskin Children’s Institute.

By Gina Stafford, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Communications and Marketing, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga –

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts today announced it will collaborate with UTC’s Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA) to bring arts-based teaching and learning programs to early childhood classrooms in Chattanooga and a 17-county service area.

It is the first time the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts has worked with a university in this manner.

SCEA will operate as UTC-Wolf Trap, becoming the Virginia-based institute’s newest affiliate and expanding its network to 21 organizations across the United States and in Singapore.

UTC-Wolf Trap will implement the institute’s model for early childhood arts integration, which pairs learning experiences for the youngest students effective professional development for early childhood educators. Children in the greater Chattanooga schools, childcare centers and other learning environments will engage in arts-based lessons that span the curriculum including Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, while the community’s educators will receive customized, hands-on training in arts-based techniques they can apply to their current and future classrooms.

“We are incredibly proud that UTC will be the first university-named Wolf Trap affiliate,” said Laurie Melnik Allen, executive director (SCEA).

“UTC-Wolf Trap will enable us to fulfill our mission to empower early childhood educators and UTC teacher candidates through an arts-rich experiential learning model,” she continued. “We will offer a roster of highly trained Wolf Trap teaching artists sharing their extensive knowledge of dance, drama, music and puppetry with students and teachers in early learning classrooms from Chattanooga and the region.

Akua Kouyate-Tate, vice president of education at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, praised SCEA, saying it “has a long history of furthering education in and through the arts by inspiring artists, teachers, and pre-service education students to teach children through and in the arts, and we’re looking forward to building yet another bridge that helps them extend that mission through Wolf Trap’s proven model.”

SCEA shared the announcement of its affiliation with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts today at an event held at the Siskin Children’s Institute, which provides education, pediatric healthcare services, home and community-based programs and outreach services in the field of developmental disabilities. Attendees at the press conference were able to observe classrooms in which Wolf Trap teaching artists engaged classroom teachers and children in an arts-integrated learning experience.

“Each teaching artist will turn the classroom into a learning lab for K-12 teachers to try out arts-integrated learning strategies that support literacy and social-emotional learning,” Allen said. “This job-embedded approach to professional development will have a transformational impact on early-learning classrooms across throughout the region in and through the arts.”

UTC-Wolf will serve in the Tennessee counties of Hamilton, Marion, Sequatchie, Grundy, Bledsoe, Rhea, Meigs, McMinn, Bradley and Polk. In Georgia, it will work in Dade, Fannin, Walker, Catoosa, Murray and Whitfield counties in Georgia; and in Alabama it will be in Jackson County.

In addition to the classroom residency program, UTC-Wolf Trap will offer the full array of professional development workshops, training programs and education resources available through the Wolf Trap Institute. Each year, the institute’s programs provide early childhood education services for nearly 100,000 children, parents, caregivers and educators.

Click here for additional information about the program.