The Arts Start program, funded by PNC’s Grow Up Great initiative, is a collaboration between the UIS Performing Arts Center and the Springfield Urban League Head Start with a goal of engaging Head Start teachers, students, and families in performing arts experiences that enhance school readiness and encourage academic, social, personal, and emotional growth.
- Teachers receive an annual PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT workshop to learn arts-integration classroom techniques from a trainer endorsed by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Partners in Education Program.
- Students attend two daytime field trip PERFORMANCES that are part of the Class Acts series, teachers receive customized Teacher Guides to help them incorporate the performances into their classrooms, UIS PAC staff visit every Head Start classroom before each performance to prepare them for the experience, and every classroom receives a copy of the storybook on which the performance is based.
- All Head Start students, staff, and their families are invited to to a free FAMILY EVENT that includes a meal, craft activities, and a performance by a professional touring theater company.
Advisory Committee: A committee of two Head Start teachers, one Head Start parent, PNC employees, and selected UIS PAC and Urban League administrators meets annually to discuss goals and objectives, suggestions for improvement, and family and volunteer involvement.
Teacher Guides: Preschool-appropriate learning materials are provided for each performance: