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Childsplay's EYEPlay Program Awarded $602,000 AZ ARP School & Community Grant

EYEPlay (Early Years Educators at Play) is a creative drama program designed specifically for preschool.

Childsplay's EYEPlay Program Awarded $602,000 AZ ARP School & Community Grant

The Arizona Department of Education announced targeted funding for literacy programs.

"Helping a child learn to read is not just something I look forward to as a mother, but it is an obligation to our future that we must fulfill," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction and new mom Kathy Hoffman. "Throughout the pandemic, my administration has been committed to improving literacy resources and support for Arizona's children and these investments will help further that work."

The funding will support Childsplay and two other Valley organizations:

  • Childsplay Theatre will receive will receive $602,000 for its EYEPlay program which prepares teachers to enrich literacy and language development for preschool students in preparation for their transition to kindergarten.
  • Valley of the Sun United Way will receive $10 million for Project CALL: Collaborating to Accelerate Literacy and Learning. VSUW will work with Read on Arizona and other community partners to reduce learning loss and increase summer and out-of-school time learning for students and families by establishing state and community-level literacy hubs.
  • Arizona PBS Educational Outreach will receive $961,000 to implement PBS Kids Super WHY Camp, an early literacy, evidence-based pre-kindergarten summer school transition program for 4- and 5-year-old students with little or no preschool experience in targeted low-income communities.

"We are thrilled to partner with the Arizona Department of Education to address learning loss with this proven strategy for developing language, literacy, and social-emotional skills with our youngest learners," said Steve Martin, Childsplay Managing Director.

These investments build on previous work done by Superintendent Hoffman to strengthen early childhood literacy. In September 2020, the Department had been awarded a $20 million, 5-year Comprehensive Literacy State Development grant aimed at improving language and literacy skills for students most in need of additional support.

These projects are funded with dollars from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and are part of Arizona's ARP School and Community Grantees. All funded projects share the goal of supporting schools, students, educators, and families as they recover from the effects of the pandemic. LEARN ABOUT THE ESSER GRANT & AZ RESCUE PLAN >

So what exactly is EYEPlay? EYEPlay (Early Years Educators at Play) is a creative drama program designed specifically for preschool. It transforms story times into spaces of active literacy, language and social emotional learning, engaging children of all abilities and language levels in deep exploration of a picture book. EYEPlay offers teachers tools to implement drama-based lessons in their classrooms, including lesson plans, online learning, job-embedded professional development, and placement of teaching artists in classrooms.

Childsplay, Inc. is a nonprofit theatre company of professional, adult artists who perform for and teach young audiences and their families. The mission of Childsplay is "to create theatre so strikingly original in form, content or both, that it instills in young people an enduring awe, love and respect for the medium, thus preserving imagination and wonder, the hallmarks of childhood which are keys to the future. For more information, visit https://www.childsplayaz.org.

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