Imagination Stage is a proud partner of Harvard’s Project Zero: Children are Citizens, which focuses on early learners and their teachers in Pre-K and Kindergarten. We partner with seven DC-based schools: Sacred Heart School, Seaton Elementary, Sunshine Early Learning Center, DC Bilingual Public Charter School, Van Ness Elementary, E.W. Stokes Public Charter School, and J.O. Wilson Elementary School. Additional cultural partners include the National Gallery of Art, The National Building Museum, and the National Air and Space Museum.
As the world becomes increasingly connected, knowledge of ourselves as individual learners and as members of a community becomes more important. When children begin their schooling with support for thinking, feeling, and acting in groups, they are more likely to participate in and practice democracy as informed and caring citizens. The Children Are Citizens project is grounded in the belief that children are not just future citizens, but are citizens of the city in the here and now, with the right to express their opinions and participate in the civic and cultural life of Washington, DC.
The project began in October 2014 when educators from across the city gathered for a professional development seminar to learn from and with one another about creating a compelling curriculum that connects children with their city. Throughout the Fall and Winter, teachers helped the children discover and research places that interested them, including the Metro, monuments, museums, Union Station, natural spaces, public sculptures, and playgrounds. The children talked, wrote, drew, played, improvised, and created three-dimensional models about their ideas, sharing their work across neighborhoods and schools. This research was supported by field trips to the National Gallery of Art and Imagination Stage as well as arts educators from these institutions visiting the schools, all while professional development seminars for the teachers introduced new ways to support children’s inquiry into the city.
Project Zero is now in its third round and fourth year of the project, continuing to expand its reach to more schools and students with every year.
Watch Sacred Heart School students experience guided dramatic play with Imagination Stage artists as they learn about the Metro.