Tuesday, November 15, 2016.
After the opportunity to work alongside a teaching artist in her own classroom, Rhonda Clausen has no doubt the arts can help children learn.
“Participating in music, movement and storytelling helps to develop language, math and science skills in young children,” Clausen says.
The Las Vegas resident knows this well, as one of the first early childhood educators to participate in The Smith Center’s Southern Nevada Wolf Trap (SNWT) Early Learning Through the Arts program.
Receiving free training on arts-based teaching strategies through the program, she adapted her teaching approach as a result.
“I am grateful for the privilege of participating in a (SNWT) residency,” she says.
Providing free arts education resources is just one of many ways The Smith Center contributes to the community.
With Giving Tuesday approaching on November 29 – when people show support through donations and volunteering – many might be interested to learn different ways The Smith Center gives back.
Free Student Matinees
Education is in our DNA at The Smith Center. To help expose local students to the performing arts, The Smith Center provides free matinee shows throughout the year for local students and teachers.
In just the 2015-2016 fiscal year, The Smith Center provided 87,578 student matinees to students and teachers from Clark County School District schools, home schools, charter schools and private schools.
These performances, featuring educational shows including “Rock the Presidents” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live,” provide a live theater experience that many students might not otherwise have.
School Supply Drives
Smith Center employees have also come together in recent years to donate school supplies to Communities in Schools (CIS) of Nevada, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed.
In 2016, Smith Center team members donated nearly 900 school supply items, more than 100 items more than the previous year. CIS, which distributes these donations to local students in need, expects to help more than 58,000 students in the 2016 to 2017 school year.
To promote the arts in classroom learning, The Smith Center helps provide free professional development opportunities for local teachers, including partnering local teachers with professional teaching artists for in-classroom residencies through the SNWT program.
Over the past fiscal year, 75 local preschool classrooms participated, with teachers learning to integrate the arts into teaching all subjects. This has been shown to benefit students in many ways, including improving engagement and retention.
Supporting Community Resources
To support community members in need, The Smith Center just launched a company-wide donation campaign supporting nonprofit United Way of Southern Nevada, which will include an employee pledge drive and ongoing staff-led fundraisers.
Our team members have also volunteered at Three Square Food Bank, which has included helping sort food for donations. We are planning additional efforts to support the food bank in the coming year.
Disney Musicals in Schools, Artist Master Classes
The Smith Center further offers the Disney Musicals in Schools program, through which experienced teaching artists help local schools establish their own sustainable theater programs.
The Smith Center has provided this program free of charge for more than 20 Southern Nevada schools since 2013.
In addition, The Smith Center regularly arranges for local and touring artists to give master classes to local students. These have included classes taught by cast members of touring Broadway shows, such as “Cabaret” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”
The Smith Center looks forward to providing valuable services for the community for many years to come. To help support our efforts, learn about the benefits of Membership at: http://www.thesmithcenter.com/support-us/membership/.
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