Early Childhood Creative Arts Program: A New Name Reflects the Ongoing Commitment to Performing Arts Education

The direction and vision of the Community School’s Early Childhood Creative Arts Program expands under Chair, Dr. Nita Baxani.

The Community School of Performing Arts is excited to announce the new and more representative name for Colburn’s youngest education program: the Early Childhood Creative Arts Program. This new title better reflects the importance of the program as an entry point for young children into the world of the performing arts and positions the program with more prominence within the Community School.Qh88

The name “Early Childhood Creative Arts Program” provides more context for what the program is designed to do. The program introduces children to the creative arts through music: singing, moving, and playing; and it builds both an artistic and creative foundation enabling students to progress in other programs within Colburn’s Community School and the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.

Important to its advancement, the program is evolving to better reflect the vision that Dr. Nita Baxani, Early Childhood Creative Arts Program Chair, has grown and developed for the past two years after assuming the role from the now retired Christine Martin. While some of the titles of the courses remain, Dr. Baxani has been redesigning the content and structure of the overall program, as well as the philosophy.

The changes to the Early Childhood program are informed by Dr. Baxani’s background as a researcher and practitioner. Her recent research will be presented at upcoming international conferences and serves to provide insight and discovery into how we can constantly evolve and improve learning for Early Childhood learners within their respective communities. Her curriculum development is informed by research to meet the needs of the individuals being served (both children and adults).

The benefits of music influence at an early age include: motivation, literacy, cognition, positive impact on emotional health, motor development, and relationship building, to name just a few. Parents and caregivers participating in the program will receive the opportunity to develop deeper bonds with their children while gaining a sense of well-being and of community. Children five years and under must be accompanied by an adult caregiver who supports them during each class. As children get older, independence for the students is encouraged as caregivers continue to support the student in the classroom when needed. Inside and outside of the classroom, caregivers are encouraged to “joyfully make music” at home.

Beginning this fall, some notable changes to the program to better serve our youngest students and their families involve class length, curriculum, and expanded courses. Class times have been increased to provide more opportunity for development and engagement. As the sequential curriculum already existed, adjustments have been made with the age parameters in the upper-level classes that are better aligned with content revisions. Furthermore, Dr. Baxani continues to design curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and that is child-centered within an inclusive environment for all learners. Additionally, she has incorporated structures that allow entry points for all learners and include a variety of modes for learning to help support inclusivity. Colburn’s curriculum is infused with approaches such as Orff, Kodály, Dalcroze, Music Learning Theory, World Music Pedagogy, etc. while still focusing on the students in the classroom. This is important so that faculty can work together considering students and their families in a way that is inherently culturally responsive.

New content and classes have been established to provide a smoother transition from Early Childhood to other performing arts classes and units. Dr. Baxani continues to work closely across departments and with the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute on this endeavor. Some new class offerings this fall include “Singing More” and “Sing, Move, and Play!”. “Sing, Move, and Play” provides a foundation of music skills structured through critical listening, singing, creative movement, and playing a variety of unpitched and pitched instruments. 

This year, there will be continued development attention for new programs to enrich course offerings and to support the current Early Childhood framework through collaboration with other areas in the Community School. There is also a plan in development to program special events and concerts throughout the year that will engage the entire Early Childhood Creative Arts Program’s student body. 

Learn more about the Early Childhood Music Program. 

Placement is required for all students. To begin the placement process, parents/guardians need to complete the Early Childhood Inquiry Form.

Registration for the 2023–24 academic year is now open. Register today! 

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