A Smith Center teaching artist showing students a guitar in their classroom
Learn and Engage

Early Learning Through The Arts

The mission of Southern Nevada Wolf Trap is to enhance young children's learning by training early childhood educators to use performing arts strategies to teach basic academic and life skills.

Southern Nevada Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts, a program of The Smith Center Education and Outreach Department, is an affiliate of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts™. The Wolf Trap Institute is an internationally respected program that provides innovative arts-based teaching strategies and services to early childhood educators, through the disciplines of drama, music, and movement. Southern Nevada Wolf Trap places professional teaching artists in classroom residencies to partner with early childhood educators of children ages three to five years old.

A Southern Nevada Wolf Trap artist residency is a partnership between a teaching artist and a preschool educator. Twice a week for seven weeks, the artist and educator work together to provide children with developmentally appropriate arts experiences that are linked to early childhood learning guidelines and the curriculum. Together they create experiences that foster important skills and concepts critical to literacy and long-term success in school.

Research has shown that the collaborative use of the performing arts techniques and strategies can enhance young children’s developmental skills and improves outcomes in key areas including:

  • Emergent literacy and language development

  • Comprehension and verbal skills

  • Problem solving and critical thinking skills

  • Self-awareness and self-confidence

  • Social and emotional development

  • Creativity

  • Motivation and enthusiasm for learning

Southern Nevada Wolf Trap (SNWT) is a program of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts supported by the Elaine P. Wynn and Family Foundation. The program’s founding support was provided by United Way of Southern Nevada and Citi. The UWSN Women’s Leadership Council and The Hearst Foundation have also provided support to continue the Southern Nevada Wolf Trap Foundation program.

Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts is a program of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Logo of Wolf Trap: Institute For Early Learning Through The Arts

Logo of Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation