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Tomorrow’s Pioneers: Providing Access to All in Early Childhood Through the Arts
Experience how the performing arts provide access and opportunity in Early Childhood! Participants will examine strategies for engaging children in active arts-integrated learning to yield positive outcomes in math knowledge. In this session participants will actively engage in quality STEM/Arts experiences led by a Wolf Trap Teaching Artist to understand the seamless, natural connections between the arts and early childhood curriculum highlighting differentiated instruction through Gardner’s multiple intelligences and engaging critical thinking skills identified in Bloom’s Taxonomy. Participants will also examine research on the program that confirms its positive impact on teacher practice and students’ math knowledge. Participants will explore movement, props, and music to expand their use of dance in math instruction in order to provide children the opportunity to act directly on their physical world through multisensory experiences and enhance their cognitive development.
This talk was presented at:
National Title I Conference
February 2017 in Long Beach, CA
For more information:
Kofi Dennis

Kofi Dennis has been a Master Teaching Artist with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts since 1998. As a professional percussionist and storyteller, Kofi provides Arts Integrated classroom residencies and professional development workshops in music and creative drama for early childhood educators both locally, nationally and internationally. 


This past summer, he was part of a team of Wolf Trap master teaching artists and administrators who spent three weeks in Singapore, in collaboration with their National Arts Council and Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), to train, facilitate workshops and conduct STEM residencies in arts integration for teachers, administrators and artists.


In addition to training new Institute Teaching Artists, Kofi also conducts an arts integrated program (known as “Baby Artsplay”) for infants up to five years, together with their parents at various county libraries and other centers. He’s the music teacher at IDEAVENTIONS Academy for Math and Science based in Reston.


Kofi Dennis is well known as part of the duo, Anansegromma; presenting traditional African music, drums rhythms, and storytelling. He also teaches the traditional djembe drumming and has the unique opportunity of working with juvenile and adult prisoners in area county jails, sharing his talents of storytelling and drum rhythms. 


Kofi is a graduate of the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, and studied early childhood and adolescent education at Komenda College, University of Cape Coast. 


Sue Trainor

Sue Trainor is a Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artist based in the Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland Regional Programs. She is a musician and performing-songwriter with a gift for stirring-up enthusiasm and creativity. Sue has been a Wolf Trap Teaching Artist since 2003, bringing professional development residencies into preschool and kindergarten classrooms. As a Master Teaching Artist, Sue has travelled nationally and internationally with Wolf Trap, providing training for other teaching artists and professional development workshops for early childhood educators and administrators.


Sue was named 2014 Artist of the Year by Young Audiences of Maryland for her arts-in-education work, which includes her role as lead teaching artist in the Maryland Wolf Trap region, Arts Integration Facilitator at a Title 1 school, and her residency programs in elementary, secondary, and special needs classrooms.  Sue is the musician on staff with Maryland’s Teaching Artist Institute (a professional development and certification program for teaching artists), she was invited to present at the Kennedy Center’s Very Special Arts Intersections Conference in 2014.


Sue’s most recent recording, “In Our Own Words,” won the Wammie Award from the Washington Area Music Association for Best CD for Children. Her debut recording for kids, "Under Tables, Out Back Doors," earned multiple awards, including Parents' Choice "Recommended" honors and an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Seal. Sue also performs concerts for adult audiences as a member of the vocal trio HOT SOUP, which recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. Sue received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Lawrence University.


Akua Kouyate-Tate

Akua Femi Kouyate-Tate is the Senior Director, Education at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA. She first joined Wolf Trap in 2001, serving first as the Associate Director and later as the Director of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts DC/MD/VA Regional Program. Akua Kouyate-Tate has led program development and implementation for major Wolf Trap Education initiatives including the Wolf Trap Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts, a multi-year initiative funded through a $1.15 million grant under the U.S. Department of Education Arts In Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant Program.


Prior to joining Wolf Trap Foundation, Kouyate-Tate worked as an administrator, educator, and professional artist with arts and disability organizations and governments agencies including Memory of African Culture, Inc., United Cerebral Palsy/UCP, the National Endowment for the Arts, Library of Congress and Young Audiences – D.C. Chapter. She has served as a grants review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and other state and local arts agencies and regularly presents at national and international conferences on arts education. She also has served as a Lecturer in Dance Major Programs at Howard University, University of Maryland, American University and George Mason University.


Kouyate-Tate holds a Master of Arts Degree in Art Management and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Performing Arts: Dance from American University, and is a recipient of a Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Award. She has conducted postgraduate and independent research on African Cultural Studies at Howard University and in the countries of Mali, Senegal and the Gambia.

Amanda Layton Whiteman

Amanda Layton Whiteman has been working for Wolf Trap as a Master Teaching Artist since 2005, providing professional development workshops and classroom residencies all over the country, integrating the performing arts with literacy, math, and science.  In conjunction with Wolf Trap, she developed and received a math focused research grant from the U.S. Department of Education, evaluating STEM teaching through the performing arts. In November 2013, Amanda presented the keynote address with her Wolf Trap colleagues at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference in Washington, DC. Amanda has also presented nationally for Wolf Trap about the connections between dance and nature. 


Amanda has been choreographing and teaching dance in Northern Virginia since 1998 in schools and community organizations such as Creative Cauldron, Reston’s Young Actor’s Theatre program and several area dance companies. In 2008, after years of working with young dancers in the community, Amanda founded GroundWorks Dance Ensemble as a way to bring together her work with students and professional dance artists. As artistic director, choreographer and playwright, Amanda’s work with GroundWorks strives to develop meaningful, artistic experiences for students and professional artists through collaboration and community building. Amanda holds a BFA in Dance and a BA in Integrated Studies with a specialization in Dance Therapy from George Mason University.