What is ELLA?
ELLA uses theater, music, visual arts and movement to teach Pre-K students early literacy skills that integrate into the literacy curriculum used by the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) and VPI+ classrooms. We have also worked in Head Start classrooms. Students delight in creative movement, acting out scenes from stories, creating objects and singing fun songs to develop vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. ELLA is currently at Bellevue and Southampton Elementary Schools (Richmond Public Schools) and Beulah Elementary School (Chesterfield County Public Schools), and are currently preparing for expansion to MLK Pre-K Center (Richmond Public Schools). The program is preparing for expansion for the 2018-19 school year.
Leading the artist residencies in the classroom are specially-trained Teaching Artists that include independent artists and those from our arts partners: Virginia Repertory Theatre and Latin Ballet of Virginia. Teaching artists co-plan and co-teach with classroom teachers the arts-based strategies used to create a unique participatory experience that makes learning come alive. RPAA will continue to be a resource for teachers and parents after the residency is complete to support seamless learning between the classroom, community and home environments.
Early childhood literacy is an important area of learning for the entire region, and we believe the arts are a powerful tool in addressing the topic. ELLA works to create equity in access to the arts and arts in education. Arts integration is a joyful approach to learning that improves the quality of life because through the arts, every student has an entry point for learning.