New York City Children’s Theater programs cultivate children’s growth in the areas of

Emotional Intelligence
Community Building
Responsible Decision-Making

The result is empathetic, creative and independent thinkers who make a positive impact on their world.

Success Stories

Emotional Intelligence

Last year when we were reading The Other Side by Jaqueline Woodson the students had a deep discussion about diversity, honesty, and race.  We channeled that dialogue into a song and wrote one of the catchiest songs ever called “Two Little Girls!”  By the end of class, we were all rocking out to the line “Take down that fence”.

~ Stacy B., Teaching Artist

My children saw what happened when no one spoke up and learned that speaking up is always the way to go!

~ The Emperor’s New Clothes… Audience Member

We loved the way the piece used dance to convey something- for instance the crab & octopus movements. My son kept trying to imitate; we talked about how the dance moves were created to express the natural movements of the animal or water or emotions.

~ This is Sadie Audience Member

We had been talking about using the word ugly just last week and The Ugly Duckling let us discuss why that word can be hurtful, how people or items are never ugly, that there is always beauty and not to judge.

~ The Emperor’s New Clothes… Audience Member

My 5.5 year old grandson noticed immediately that Fox felt excluded when Sadie took her flying adventure. No words necessary.

~ This is Sadie Audience Member

Last semester at Nelson House I had a really passionate group of participants.  I remember reading Hattie and Hudson and we talked about what angry, frightened townspeople might say to each other during a town meeting.  We let fly all sorts things they might say about what they would do. Then we talked about how Hattie would react. The level of empathy and care that the students showed when considering Hattie’s role was remarkable.  We ended up talking about what we would do as a friend of Hattie in that moment, and how we would help her in her fear or anger.

~ Katherine M., Teaching Artist

While they already do this, seeing the show gave my children myriad examples of how to use props, movement/ gesture, music, lighting and narrative/story to express an idea or feeling.

~ This is Sadie Audience Member

The power of self expression and imagination sparked a fantastical conversation with my little ones.

~ This is Sadie Audience Member

Community Building

I was working on The Three Billy Goats Gruff with a kindergarten class if mostly ENL (English as a new language) students.  When I asked the students to list the characters in the story one enthusiastically shouted “don’t forget the crabs!!”.  I thought he might be confused so I asked him to show me the crabs in the story. He pointed to the water in the picture under the bridge and said “they live there”.  From that class on we had a chorus of crabs who had a chant that kept getting longer that involved pinching the mean troll. I didn’t do anything incredible in this situation.  I just gave a young person room to express his own creative ideas.  This built community in his class and gave other students the courage to be creative too.

~ Jessica C., Teaching Artist

In one program, we were building a final presentation of a story that I had read. On the second day, we had new students joining us. Before I could do a recap and insert them into our stage pictures, the rest of the students took charge for me and instructed their friends on what to do in each scene. It was amazing to witness that sense of ownership in their work. I remained pretty hands off from that moment on. They used lessons from the first day to help them create a solid final sharing.

~ Khalia D., Teaching Artist

One of my students told me that one of their classmates was having a bad day and so a bunch of the kids in my after school theater class got together and taught their classmate how to play some of the theater games they were learning. They even created some new dance moves. 

~ Cheyenne M., Teaching Artist

Responsible Decision-Making

During an Alice’s Story workshop in a first grade classroom, one student was constantly speaking up on behalf of Alice. She challenged Deanna, who plays the bully, and explained to her that her actions were hurting Alice’s feelings. After the workshop, the classroom teacher thanked us for coming in. She mentioned that the student constantly defending Alice actually often bullied others – and seeing the student identify with Alice was an exciting step forward.  

~ Nicole S., Teaching Artist

We felt that watching this show gave us many items to discuss with our child. For instance after seeing The Emperor’s New Clothes we discussed how people can collude on lies until others have the courage to highlight the truth.

~ The Emperor’s New Clothes… Audience Member

The show highlighted ways children can be positive change makers. Especially [The Emperor’s New Clothes], if you see something wrong (even if others swear it’s right) speak up!

~ The Emperor’s New Clothes… Audience Member

My son said he would defend the ugly duckling, if he were in the story.

~ The Emperor’s New Clothes… Audience Member