All children should have access to the arts throughout their schooling. Because the arts – music and dance in particular – have been shown to contribute to reading and language acquisition and sequence learning, the Arts Partners program is valued by its participating teachers and principals as a necessary supplement to their curricula. This program provides tickets, transportation and classroom resources to second grade bilingual and dual language students and their teachers to attend at least three live performances in different genres at the Prairie Center for the Arts during their academic year. Each year, approximately 350 students and teachers attend a concert by the Schaumburg Youth Choir, a performance of the Nutcracker ballet presented by the Schaumburg Dance Ensemble, and at least one culturally or historically specific performance by a professional singer, group, dance ensemble, storyteller, or theatre troupe.
While most schools have at least a basic arts curriculum, they are rarely able to offer their students a live performing arts experience in a theatre space. The Arts Partners program brings children to the Prairie Center who would otherwise never have an opportunity to attend a live performance in a theatre setting. This in-depth experience brings the arts back into their classrooms. In addition to the students that are directly impacted by this program annually, the student performers from the Schaumburg Dance Ensemble and Schaumburg Youth Orchestra also benefit, serving as role models and providing inspiration to the program participants. The program also includes feedback from the children’s teachers and principals, making Arts Partners a relevant and vital contributor to their classroom curricula, and supplementing the children’s language skills.