Early Childhood Residencies

gateway to the arts teacher and students interacting

Early childhood mini-residencies provide imaginative, engaging, sequential learning experiences for children ages 3–5 and their teachers over the course of four classroom sessions. Students express themselves creatively and master basic academic and life skills in fun, developmentally appropriate ways through a series of four arts workshops led by Trust Arts Education professional teaching artists. These mini-residencies provide professional development opportunities for teachers and can be customized to accomodate your center and the needs of your staff. Limited to 20 students (classroom teacher must be present), matching funds for the workshops may be available through our funding partners.

Mini-residencies are $350 each for locations within Allegheny County. Call for pricing for locations outside of Allegheny County.

To schedule please contact Sarah Hamilton at 412-456-2695 or by email.

Joanna Abel


Giraffes Can Dance

Poor Gerald the Giraffe’s neck was so long and his legs were so thin that the animals made fun of him at the annual Jungle Dance. When a little cricket helps Gerald hear the sounds of nature all around him, he learns to dance, prance and boogie to his own special music! “When you’re different, you just need a different song.” Joanna is a dancer, visual artist and certified art educator.

REQUIREMENTS: Story or circle-time area; tables for art making activity

Jeff Berman


Reading & Rhythm

Children will discover the rhythm in music and in language as percussionist Jeff Berman guides them in expressing themselves by improvising rhythmic patterns and chants in the book Max Found Two Sticks by J. Brian Pinkney. Jeff is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who has performed internationally. He has a BS in Music from the City University of New York.

REQUIREMENTS: Story or circle-time area; percussion instruments, if available; chart paper

Betty Dell


The Gingerbread Man

The Gingerbread Man will run and run as fast as he can, and when children catch up with him they will have learned lessons in literacy, math, social skills and body movement! Using Eric Kimmel’s version of the classic tale, Betty Dell adds farm animal puppets, movement activities, songs, and dramatic play to create a fun-filled learning experience for preschool-age children

Betty is a children’s theater performer and director, as well as a storyteller and puppeteer. She has a BFA in Theater from Point Park College, and a MS in Psychology in Education from the University of Pittsburgh.

REQUIREMENTS: Large clear space or circle-time area.

Amber Ramsey Fantini


Billy Goat Fun!

In this music-filled residency, Amber Ramsey Fantini will explore the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Children love to hear this tale, and they will delight in a multitude of movement and musical activities that explore the world of the billy goats...and their neighbor the troll!! Children will practice emergent literacy skills through rhythmic chant, singing and movement. A former elementary music teacher, Amber has a Masters in French Horn Performance from Carnegie Mellon University.

REQUIREMENTS: Large clear space or circle-time area.

Joann Kielar


Go Dog Go

Up, down, in, out, fast, slow — children will learn about concepts and their opposites while asking, “Where are all those dogs going?” Storytelling, music, and visual arts combine in this fun-filled residency culminating in a big dog party. Joann holds an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania.

REQUIREMENTS: Tables with desk space, glue for each child, sink, area to leave projects to dry

Too Much Noise


Visual artist, puppeteer and storyteller Joann Kielar designs developmentally appropriate visual art projects to enhance and reinforce early literacy components. Her project will focus on the book Now Things Are Worse– A Yiddish Tale. Joann holds an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania.

REQUIREMENTS: Tables with desk space, glue for each child, sink, area to leave projects to dry

Veronica López


The Surprise Garden

Veronica combines Zoe Hall's story, The Surprise Garden, with songs and rhymes to immerse young learners in an exciting and artful journey through the garden. After selecting shapes, textures and colors children will have fun making a collage garden where they will "grow" their own nutritious and so delicious vegetables. Veronica López is an Art Historian from Argentina who teaches Art and Spanish.

REQUIREMENTS: Large clear space or circle-time area.

Barbara Russell


Bear Hunt

In this 4-workshop residency, Barbara will model age-appropriate teacher and child-directed dramatic play activities. Experiences will focus on favorite books, poems and songs about bears. Barbara is an actor and an educator and has been an Artist -in-Residence for Gateway to the Arts for 20 years.

REQUIREMENTS: Large clear space or circle-time area.

Lindsay Woge


A Perfectly Messed-Up Residency

Children will engage in social-emotional learning through visual art making and storytelling! Lindsay Woge, an accomplished visual artist, brings the story of “A Perfectly Messed-Up Story” to life through exploration of emotions and expressive art making. Louie, the main character, is feeling frustrated, but with strong perseverance and a lot of help from the students in your class, Louie ends up feeling pretty good about his story! Each class will also get to write and illustrate an original keepsake book!

REQUIREMENTS: Story or circle-time area; tables for art making activity

Alison Zapata


From Head to Toe

Alison and her friend Koko use interactive storytelling, art-making, and movement to inspire reading fun! Children will make personal connections to Eric Carle's From Head to Toe by creating their own book exploring tissue paper collage, stamping, shapes and color. Alison is a professional visual artist and art educator who holds a bachelor's degree in art education from Carlow University.

REQUIREMENTS: Basic art supplies; table and chairs; circle time area.