Lucas Coatney, right, and Keilani Akagi sing about presidential pets during the rehearsal for the Childsplay musical "ROCK THE PRESIDENT" on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012.

Helios Education Foundation announced it has awarded Tempe-based Childsplay a $347,000 grant to support its innovative EYEPlay program promoting literacy and language acquisition for children ages 3-5. The EYEPlay (Early Years Educators at Play) program is an outgrowth of Childsplay’s U.S. Department of Education-funded Drama Frames initiative, teaching artists trained elementary school teachers how to incorporate drama in teaching writing.

The current grant will allow full implementation of the EYEPlay program in 32 pre-school classrooms across metropolitan Phoenix. Each participating teacher will receive 18 months of drama and literacy-based professional development with Childsplay teaching artists. Using a peer coaching model, Childsplay teaching artists will work directly with teachers in their own classrooms on a one-to-one basis: developing lesson plans, strategies and co-teaching with the participating educators. These in-classroom teaching opportunities are specifically tailored to each teacher’s needs, using Childsplay’s drama strategies as tools for teaching literacy.


• Beverly Stidham, (480) 898-7924 or

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