Washington Wolf Trap logo

ArtsWA is a new affiliate of Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, a nationally recognized leader in early childhood arts-based learning. Washington State Wolf Trap uses arts integration to create joyful, active learning experiences that engage children in ways that can increase academic and social emotional development for all kinds of learners.

Launching in the 2023-24 academic year, Washington State Wolf Trap programing will include multi-week classroom residencies in preschool classrooms and professional development workshops for early childhood educators.

Each performing arts discipline aligns with skills and understanding that children need.

  • Music builds memory and fluency with language and movement.
  • Dance improves movement abilities and control.
  • Theatre expands imagination and communication.
  • Puppetry encourages social interactions and self-confidence.
  • Storytelling fosters emerging literacy that prepare students for reading.

Early Learning Residencies

A Wolf Trap early learning residency is a classroom-embedded professional learning experience for preschool educators. Residencies bring engaging arts activities to the classroom that strengthen social, emotional, and academic growth in young children.

During a residency, a Wolf Trap-trained teaching artist partners with an early childhood educator to design performing arts strategies that meet the instructional goals and objectives of the teacher and the classroom curriculum. Teachers learn effective ways to engage students in active learning so that performing arts remain a strong part of their lessons after the residency ends.

Residencies take place over a few months, which include observation, collaborative planning meetings, and in-class sessions with the teaching artist.

Washington State Wolf Trap partners with early learning teams at our state’s Educational Service Districts (ESDs). Residencies will launch in ESD 123 and branch out to surrounding communities in eastern and central Washington in successive academic years. This ESD-focused scaling up will enable us to develop strong partnerships, meet the needs of service districts, and reflect regional teaching artist talent.

Washington State Wolf Trap Teaching Artists

Our teaching artists have been trained by a Master Teaching Artist from the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts.

Alexandra Cann portrait

Alexandra Cann
Pasco, WA – Dance

Alex Cann is a dancer, educator, & artist originally from Seattle, WA. She began her dance training at a young age, specializing in ballet, modern, jazz, and acrobatics. Prior to moving to Tri-cities in 2017, Alex has had the opportunity to work with renowned dance companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre as well as choreography at a variety of venues in the Seattle Area. Graduating from Cornish College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance in 2012, Alex has since dedicated the past 11 years to teaching dance to students of diverse age groups in both dance studios and pre-schools with a focus of access, inclusivity & joyful learning. She is excited to share the rich world of creative movement & how it can be harnessed to enhance physical, cognitive, social, and emotional skills in young children.

Amber Davis portrait

Amber Davis
Richland, WA – Dance

Amber took her first dance class when she was 8 years old. She went on to earn her bachelor’s in dance while on a dance scholarship at Western Oregon University. While there she won both the outstanding dancer and outstanding choreographer awards. After college, she spent 13 years dancing professionally with Polaris Dance Theatre, Agnieszka Laska Dancers, Gregg Bielemeier, and Mary Oslund, amongst others. She has been a guest choreographer numerous times for Mid-Columbia Ballet, Agnieszka Laska Dancers, and Oregon Dance Collective, has been a guest artist at Pacific University, and a master class teacher for various studios throughout the Pacific NW, as well as for The Ballet Alliance Festival. She currently teaches modern, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, and pre-ballet at the Tri-Cities Academy, while also working in their Performing Arts Preschool.

Liz Fenstermaker portrait with ukulele

Liz Fenstermaker
Richland, WA – Theatre

Liz Fenstermaker has been a “theatre kid” since she was five; she has been an actor, playwright, director, and costume designer for film and theatre ever since. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Smith College. Her plays for young people were a Boston Globe Critics’ Pick, and her work in the Boston small theatre scene brought her both awards and life-long friends. Liz completed a self-designed M.A., concentrating on Arts in Middle School, from Lesley University, and she is a licensed teacher in Washington State. As a performing arts and language arts teacher, most recently at Seattle Girls’ School, Liz connected with students in interdisciplinary and project-based learning. Liz’s advice to young theatre-makers was featured in a 2020 issue of Dramatics Magazine. She loves her new home in the PNW, where she is involved with the public library, theatre, and therapeutic horsemanship communities.

Lorelei Kennedy portrait

Lorelei Kennedy
Kennewick, WA – Theatre

Lorelei Kennedy has 30 years stage experience, 20 years experience teaching everyone from preschoolers to prisoners, and has enjoyed the lifelong pursuit of knowledge across many areas, particularly where the arts meet science and humanity. She also holds a Master of Science in Theatre Arts from Portland State University and has specialized training as a Theatre Teaching Artist to bring classroom lessons to life!

Are you an experienced performing artist living in eastern or central Washington State? Are you interested in becoming a Wolf Trap trained teaching artist?

Join the ArtsWA email list to stay tuned for our next recruitment!
Wolf Trap and ArtsWA work together in a classroom
A Wolf Trap Teaching Artist residency in action in Pasco, WA. Photo courtesy ESD 123.

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

Want To Learn More?

For more information contact Alexis Sarah, Washington State Wolf Trap Affiliate Director, at wolftrap@arts.wa.gov or 360.228.6359.

laird Norton Family Foundation logoSpecial thanks to the Laird Norton Family Foundation for their support of ArtsWA’s early learning programs and dedication to increasing the growth of arts integration in public education.