BOCA RATON, FL – This fall Sol Children Theatre of Boca Raton will partner with the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development to offer students classes in Creative Drama and Movement and Musical Theatre Performance Experience. The Center, located on the Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University is affiliated with the College of Education. “Since we opened our doors we at Sol have been committed to reaching out to our community,” says Sol Founding Producer/ Artistic Director Rosalie Grant. “Several years ago Dr. Nancy Brown, who is the Peter and Nona Gordon Professor of Early Childhood Education at the Karen Slattery Center, asked me to provide a Theatre Intensive Workshop for her Early Childhood Education undergraduate and graduate students. It proved to be extremely rewarding for me personally, and since then I’ve had the honor of teaching that workshop twice more. Equally rewarding was finding kindred spirits in Nancy and the director of the Slattery Center, Lydia Bartram. All three of us are passionate about teaching children.” The collaboration is a fitting one for Sol Children Theatre, a not-for-profit theatre dedicated to providing children – actors, backstage workers, or audience members – with a safe, secure, and highly professional theatre experience. Under Grant’s leadership the award-winning theatre has been producing quality programming for almost twenty years. Their recent production of Annie featured a cast and crew ranging in age from 9 to 20 and was completely sold out! Numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between theatre involvement and academic achievement in young people. In addition to having higher standardized test scores than their peers who do not experience the arts, children who participate in theatre often experience improved reading comprehension, maintain better attendance records, and stay generally more engaged in school than their non-arts counterparts. Lydia Bartram, director of the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development is equally enthusiastic about the collaboration: “We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with the Sol Children Theatre in the provision of creative drama and musical theatre performance for children from 4 -12 years old. Promoting a passion for the arts is critical to healthy child development and lays a solid foundation for future learning potential,” she explains. “The vision of Sol Children Theatre supports the interdisciplinary work of the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development, which serves as a university laboratory school, and is designed to be of service to children and their families, and to the wider professional community.” Bartram continues. “This program specifically addresses one of the school’s key missions, which is to help young children grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically in a learning environment that nurtures and supports their optimal development.” Dr. Brown agrees: “I am thrilled that our dream of partnering with Sol Children Theatre is now becoming a reality”, she says. “Exposing children to the arts and musical theatre at a young age is extremely beneficial for them and we are so proud to collaborate with Sol Children Theatre on such an important project.” “To bond the strengths of the creativity and professionalism that Sol can provide to the FAU schools’ children along with the team at the ground-breaking Karen Slattery Center is a dream come true,” says Grant. “Lydia and I have high expectations for this collaboration, and envision it being the stepping stone to further joint efforts.” The Creative Drama and Movement class for 4 – 6 year olds will encourage young actors to explore the possibilities of acting choices in a safe and controlled environment where they will be given freedom to express themselves through emotion, movement, and vocals while building team work and synchronization skills through easy steps and patterns of movement and vocalizations. The Musical Theatre Performance Experience for 7 – 12 year olds will offer 20 students a chance to participate in a fully staged musical production, Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods Jr. Young actors will work with an experienced director learning many aspects of stagecraft. The course will culminate with 4 public performances scheduled for February 6-8, 2015. For further information about both these programs, please contact Rosalie Grant at 561-447-8829. The classes will take place at the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development on the Boca Raton Florida Atlantic University Campus and then move into rehearsal and performance at Sol Theatre, 3333 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. For more information on how to register and to learn more about Sol Children Theatre, please visit www.solchildren.org or contact Rosalie Grant at 561-447.8829. For more information about the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center for Child Development, please visit http://tinyurl.com/cpcqjg8.