Session 7–Putting the “A” into STEAM: using drama and music to support early development

Join the Children’s Theatre Company and the MacPhail Center for Music in a session that draws upon two art forms children naturally engage with and integrate into the work of learning – dramatic play and music. Each one-day session will offer educators evidence-based approaches and activities that promote pre-literacy, communication, numeracy, and executive function skills.

Day 1: Creative drama for early education, Children’s Theatre Company

Day 1 is designed to teach early childhood educators how to bring Creative Drama into their own classrooms, whether or not they have had formal training in theater arts. For early childhood students, being able to practice storytelling is a big step forward in their development as they progress in communicating their thoughts and feelings by using language skills and movement. Learning how to teach special sessions of Creative Drama in your classroom will be beneficial to your early learners as you guide them through breaking down what makes a story and how to retell a story in their own words using non-performance based theater. This session will give you the tools you need to help your students become the storytellers of their own lives!

View Children’s Theatre Company’s video overview of the Early Bridges program.

Day 1 Session Objectives

Participants will:

  • Listen to and participate in a lecture about the Early Bridges and Creative Drama Programs offered through the Children’s Theatre Company.
  • Be given the tools on how to create a 60 – 75 minute lesson plan inspired by any children’s book on your classroom shelves.
  • Interact with breakout groups to practice story creation.
  • Learn how to analyze classic fairy tales and cultural stories with children as young as Kindergarten students in order to teach them how to question texts and flip perspectives.

Day 1 Intended Audience

Early General and Special Education teachers and freelance teaching artists with an interest in theater arts education

Day 2: Sing and Play – Add music to your day: Research- based techniques to incorporate music into your daily routines, goal setting, and student assessments, MacPhail Center for Music

Learn fun, engaging ways to incorporate music into your daily learning experiences and routines. Evidence based practices and research will be shared to demonstrate the effectiveness and ease of music integration to meet individual and classroom goals, ease transitions, and much more. Hands on and small group activities will engage the attendees. Come ready to learn new ideas and leave with a list of songs to use the next day.

View Sing Play Learn with MacPhail singable books demo.

Day 2 Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Have the opportunity to work with colleagues
  • Expand knowledge of impact of music integration on children’s development
  • Learn new ways to use music as a teaching/therapeutic tool in their classroom
    • to meet goals
    • to ease transitions
    • to add to daily routines
    • to aid in environmental elements of classroom
    • to aid in assessments and expand goal writing with a musical focus
  • Leave with a repertoire of songs to use to meet above learning objectives 

Day 2 Intended Audience

Early Childhood Educators, ECSE, Early Intervention Specialists

Day 2 Other Pertinent Information

Assignment- Bring the following to the workshop (day of):

  • Daily classroom schedule
  • Zoning maps of your classroom
  • Curriculum- a sample weekly or monthly chart
    • Sample lesson plan
  • Assessment tool examples
  • Individual and classroom goals

Attendees will receive pre-workshop reading assignments

  • Benefits of music handouts
  • Professional articles
  • Curriculum webs to review

MN CoE innovations supported

Classroom Engagement model, Pyramid model, EQIP

Intended audience

All are welcome!

Intended skill level

All levels welcome!

Each session requires a minimum of 10 attendees to be held. If there are fewer than 10 registered for a specific session, you will be contacted and asked to select another session.


Day 1: Kiko Laureano, BFA, Children’s Theatre Company

Kiko Laureano

Kiko Laureano is an educator and actress from Plymouth, MN. She is a graduate of Indiana University with a BFA in Musical Theater. Her journey as a theater arts educator began in 2018 with the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis. She was hired as a Theater Teaching Artist for the Neighborhood Bridges Program, a nationally-recognized program focusing on critical literacy and storytelling. She specialized in Early Bridges, the early education version of the Neighborhood Bridges Program, working mostly with students in the Kindergarten through Grade 2 age range. She has found a new role at CTC as their Resident Teaching Artist, creating curriculum for CTC’s school residencies and continuing to work with students all over the Twin Cities. In addition to her work with CTC, she has been employed as a teaching artist for Stages Theatre Company, Duluth Playhouse, Mayer Arts, and a guest director for Minnewashta Elementary.

Day 2: Dianna Babcock, M.Ed., MacPhail Center for Music

Dianna Babcock

Dianna Babcock, Director of Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® (SPL) & Instructor, MacPhail Center for Music. Dianna has worked in the Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® department since 1990. For over 30 years, she has been an early childhood educator and early childhood music teacher in the Twin Cities area. Dianna has degrees in music and psychology, with an emphasis in child psychology. In 1997, she completed her Master of Education (MEd) in Early Childhood Education with a Pre-K licensure from the University of Minnesota. Her professional activities include: teacher trainer, mentor, curriculum development consultant, community partnership teacher, and frequent early childhood music workshop presenter at conferences and early learning programs throughout the Midwest.

Day 2: Jane Tate, MA, MT-BC, MacPhail Center for Music

Jane Tate

Jane Tate, MT-BC, has been teaching in the Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® program since 2016. She has taught in various departments at MacPhail including School Partnerships and Group Instruction. In 2019 she joined the Music Therapy department first as an intern, and after successful completion of an internship requirements and the National Music Therapy Board Examination, she joined the team in March 2020.

During her Music Therapy Master’s program, Jane was fortunate to be invited to work with children at a pediatric burn camp in Chongqing, China. This was a life changing experience of three weeks of travel around northern and southern China, visiting many hospitals, and cultural sites, and the honor to learn about music therapy in Asia. The tour culminated in working with children who have experienced life altering burn injuries. It was both inspiring and humbling.

Jane has a passion in working with the entire lifespan, from babies to elders, forming therapeutic relationships through music. Growing up in England, Jane has been lucky enough to perform as a youth all over the UK and other parts of Europe. Most notably, she was a piano soloist at The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. She sang for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in The Royal Albert Hall, London. She was a vocalist at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. In 2016, Jane began publishing pedagogical piano pieces for the “Composers Community” a division of Piano Pronto Publishing.

Jane holds a Bachelor’s of Music from the University of Saint Thomas in piano performance and piano pedagogy. Jane completed a music therapy equivalency with a Master’s from Augsburg University in 2020.