The Walnut Street Theatre

Math Matters

Background

An accomplished, experienced nonprofit partner helps guarantee success. The Walnut Street Theatre’s Touring Outreach Program is celebrating 30 years of bringing high-quality professional theatre to schools across the region. The award-winning multi-cultural Touring Outreach Company for elementary and middle schools introduces students to the learning opportunities of theatre through age appropriate, curriculum-based pieces. The Touring Outreach Company performs over 450 shows each year, reaching more than 105,000 students annually. Professional actors come to the school with sets, costumes and props. They can put on a production in any space, from auditoriums to multi-purpose rooms. Their themes are socially relevant, entertaining and exciting, making theatre available, accessible and engaging. Currently, each play also has a teacher study guide.

This new initiative builds on that successful and proven formula. Geared to Pre-School, the Math Matters Series adds a full curriculum 4-6-week thematic component for Teachers and Aides to expand the learning opportunities and enrichment.

"Your group was spectacular. Great message, terrific energy and very entertaining. Tremendous thanks for sharing with our children."

- Dr. William R. Hite Jr., Superintendent, School District of Philadelphia

Stimulating the Development of Key Skills

Study after study has proven the vital link between quality Pre-School and lifelong learning success. The primary role of Pre-School is to provide socialization and learning readiness skills—basic developmental blocks. Pre-School students learn most effectively through experiences--structured play, physical movement, and music and rhythm activities. Repetition and rote are also necessary. Enrichment activities linked with a specific story line and recognizable characters reinforce pre-school learning.

In general, students from lower income backgrounds tend to require more intensive pre-school interventions early on, while students from higher income backgrounds have benefited from more access to books, one-on-one time with adults, especially for language development, and supplemental enrichment activities. These translate to a head start entering preschool, and better results with future learning activities. The same is true for students who come from English-speaking homes versus students for whom English is a second language.

Since the primary function of pre-school is kindergarten readiness and future academic success, incorporating appropriate thematic activities is vital.

The Strategy

The Walnut will leverage its expertise in Touring Outreach Programs, creating a six-part series of high-quality thematic units meeting specific learning goals. Each unit features engaging multi-cultural characters “teaching” key skills. Developed by top educators for preschool teachers, each unit presents the lesson through a variety of age-appropriate experiences—shared reading, art projects, songs with body movement, and play-acting.

Each unit provides a unique and important additional learning experience, exposure to a live play and interaction with the characters(actors). The lessons of every lead-in activity culminate in the excitement of the play itself, where recognized characters come to live in front of the students’ eyes! The cycle concludes with a “what did we see” discussion and a take-home activity sheet to share with family/caregiver.

These proven strategies provide an engrossing and effective learning cycle, especially for students whose general enrichment exposure has been low.

Opportunities for Employee Engagement and Sponsor Recognition

Sponsorship includes sustained opportunities for employees to get involved in the program throughout the 4-6 week cycle as fits their schedule

  • Identifying Pre-Schools to enjoy the program
  • Participating in the lead-in activities
  • Helping set up and serving as “ushers” at the performance
  • Creating a dedication message for all materials
  • Introducing the play
  • Moderating the follow-up interaction with the actors

Sponsor Recognition includes:

  • Corporate name linked to the series title
  • Name and Logo featured on all handouts and materials
  • Corporate name and logo with hyperlink featured on the Walnut Street Theatre website and in media releases