Tag Archives: theater and literacy

The sun, moon and stars

I was working in the non-profit world when the Helios Education Foundation was established. I recall early conversations with a key player gathering information on Valley programs and priorities as the foundation worked to refine and reflect its focus.

How lovely to learn several years later that they’ve recognized the value of theater in the lives of youth and the world of education.

Childsplay, a Tempe-based theater company for young audiences, is one of three Helios Education Foundation grant recipients for programs aligned with the foundation’s “Early Childhood Theory of Change.”

Grants were awarded to three organizations for the “development of programs that are designed to strengthen the literacy and language acquisition knowlegdge and education of early childhood teachers, professionals, and other providers working with children ages birth to 5.”

Paradise Valley Community College, in partnership with Central Arizona College, also received a prestigious Helios grant.

Childsplay’s project will work with early educators to “integrate drama strategies and writing/reading curricula” to support “language acquisition and emergent literacy.”

I thought of the sun when learning of Childplay’s Helios grant, but another bit of Childsplay news took me back to the moon and stars of Childsplay’s extraordinary “Still Life with Iris” sets from so many years ago at the Herberger Theater Center.

I’ve never considered Childsplay anything less than a national treasure, and doubt it would be a stretch to say it shines just as brightly on the international stage.

So I wasn’t the least bit surprised to learn that Childsplay founder and artistic director David Saar will receive the 2010 Medallion Award from the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America at a ceremony to be held Aug. 6 in San Francisco.

The Medallion Luncheon will be held in conjunction with the annual convention of the American Alliance for Theatre in Education — which sounds like an ever-so-wonderful place to be. I got a twinkle in my eye just reviewing their workshop topics and featured speakers.

To enjoy your own glimpse of the sun, moon and stars, take your children to enjoy the exceptional work of Childsplay, which presents some of the very best “theater for everyone.”

— Lynn

Note: The Herberger Theater, where I first experienced the magic of Childsplay during a school field trip with my oldest daughter, is currently undergoing renovations. Info/tickets are now available for it Oct 1 “Grand Re-Opening Ceremony” and Oct 2 “Festival of the Arts.” Learn more at herbergertheater.org.

Coming up: The best of symphony, opera and other music for children