Early Childhood Initiative

Children’s Theatre Company hears the call for shared responsibility to our community’s youngest children.

CTC collaborates with and presents work by leading performing artists for early learners from around the world, and is a national leader in creating new plays that respect and encourage the playful nature of audience members ages 2 - 5. To increase early and equitable access to high quality arts experiences, CTC provides ticket access and transportation subsidies to childcare centers serving low income communities to remove barriers to attending our preschool performances.

CTC’s ‘Early Bridges’ is a unique early childhood literacy program combining interactive storytelling and theatre arts with best practices in early childhood, based on the hypothesis that theatre experiences support young children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and creative play skills—including the development and practice of crucial language skills.

Because a parent is often a child’s first and most important teacher, CTC offers Theatre Arts Training classes for preschool parents and caregivers together with their children. Theatre arts activities are introduced as a springboard for play, and the value of play and creative storytelling is promoted as a key component of healthy child development.

CTC's Early Childhood programs receive ongoing input and assessment from the University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development (CEED).

2015-2016 Early Childhood Initiative Community Partners
Anishinabe Academy Pre-K, Autism Society of MN, Bruce Vento Elementary Pre-K, Eastern Heights Elementary Pre-K, Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, Hmoob Toj Siab Children's House (Hmong American Partnership Montessori Program), Jeremiah Program, Joyce Preschool, Kateri House, La Creche Early Childhood Center, Mary T. Wellcome Child Development Center at Phyllis Wheatley, Montessori American Indian Childcare Center, Northside Child Development Center, Parents in Community Action (PICA) Head Start, Paul and Sheila Wellstone Elementary, People Serving People, Siembra Montessori at Centro, St. Paul Music Magnet Pre-K, St. Stephens Human Services, Way to Grow at Urban Ventures and Center for Families.

Vision

The Children’s Theatre Company’s (CTC) early childhood initiative creates extraordinary theatre experiences that enhance and support the relationship between the artist and the child in order to activate and nurture the creativity inherent in each child.

CTC recognizes the importance of years 2 – 5 in a child’s life-long development. We work to nurture the artist within each child and train caregivers and families to plant the seeds of empathy, cooperation, creative problem-solving and focus during these crucial years of development.

While CTC believes that all children benefit from these opportunities, we recognize that the urgency lies in making them available to children in need.
  • Preschool Productions
  • TAT Preschool Classes
  • Early Bridges
  • Measurable Outcomes
  • CTC’s Early Childhood Initiative in the News
Animal Dance
Commissioned by CTC and created by Ann Carlson. Directed by Peter C. Brosius. On the Cargill Stage, March 22 – May 1, 2016. WORLD PREMIERE

Balloonacy
Commissioned by CTC and created by Barry Kornhauser. Directed by Peter C. Brosius. WORLD PREMIERE.

The Biggest Little House in the Forest
Commissioned by CTC and adapted by Rosanna Staffa (U.S.) from the book by Djemma Bider. Directed by Peter C. Brosius. Featuring Autumn Ness with set and puppet design by Eric Van Wyk. WORLD PREMIERE.

Circoluna (Circus Moon)
Created by Nicola Lusuardi and Fabrizio Montecchi of Teatro Gioco Vita (Italy) and Dockteatern Tittut (Sweden). AMERICAN PREMIERE.

A Special Trade
Commissioned by CTC and adapted by Christer Dahl, Artistic Director of Dockteatern Tittut (Sweden), based on the book by Sally Wittman. Directed by Christer Dahl. WORLD PREMIERE.

The Green Sheep
Based on Mem Fox and Judy Horacek’s book Where is the Green Sheep? Performed by Windmill Performing Arts (Australia).

The Cat’s Journey
Adapted from Sweden's beloved children's book Kattresan by Ivar Arosenius. Performed by Dockteatern Tittut (Sweden) and designed by Fabrizio Montecchi of Teatro Gioco Vita (Italy). AMERICAN PREMIERE

Click here to see past plays
Preschool Plays now available.
Theatre Arts Training sessions are held at CTC for ages 2-3; 3-4; and 4-5 foster creativity, multisensory play, and imagination. Explore the arts through music, movement, visual arts, and dramatic play.

TAT Satellite Programs in the Community: Participating families and Saint Paul ECFE Family Literacy staff explore the value of intentional, attuned parent-child interactions through theatre-arts based play experiences, inspired from developmentally-appropriate children's literature.

"I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see the joy on the parents and children's faces as they interacted with the (CTC) staff that visited the family literacy sites, and getting everyone to the production was the absolute best." -Donald Sysyn, Saint Paul ECFE Coordinator – ESL/Family Literacy program
Through play and storytelling, CTC partners with early childcare teachers off-site. Early Bridges uses developmentally appropriate practices to accomplish two goals: promote young children’s social/emotional and language development and build the professional skills of early childhood educators.

“Thank you for the wonderful experience! I believe I have become a better educator because of Early Bridges. You have made a lasting impression on the students in our classroom.” --Melissa Burns, Mona Moede High Five, Minneapolis

Hear what Preschool Teachers have to say about Early Bridges
"We have really come to see that promoting what the theater folks might call "theater arts skills" are a lot of what the early childhood folks consider to be good social and cognitive skills," - Amy Susman-Stillman, University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development

CTC's Early Childhood programs receive ongoing input and assessment from the University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development (CEED).
Star Tribune, "For early ed, all the world can be the stage"

The CTC has become a national leader in work which child experts say is a perfect match for the educational needs of preschoolers. – Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio News

MPR News, “Children's Theatre Company's new works are drama for toddlers”



CTC’s Artistic Director Peter Brosius discusses the importance of performing for 2-5 year olds in an interview with with Jearlyn Steele on WCCO’s SteeleTalkin’.

ARTSblog, “Filled with Wonder: 5 Attributes of Quality Theatre for the Very Young”

Wall Street Journal, “Serious Play Date”

Children's Theatre's 'Biggest Little House in the Forest' perfects the art of child's play

City Pages ‘A Special Trade’ World Premiere

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