Meet Kayla

Photo by Jay Westcott

As the education program of Dumbarton Concerts, Inner City-Inner Child brings music, dance, and visual arts to children and teachers in the communities of Washington, D.C. that remain mostly forgotten in a city that is rapidly gentrifying.  These young scholars represent the future of their communities, the city of Washington, and the nation, and our mission has never been more urgent.  Our belief is that the arts are critical to intellectual and social development in early childhood, particularly for children of low socio-economic status. We provide tools for these children to enter kindergarten ready to learn.  We am proud to share news about Kayla, one of our recent success stories from our Dancing With Books program:

At DC Citywide Child Development Center, an early childhood center in Southeast Washington, the playground is littered with discarded furniture, and the heavy padlocked door is more suited to a prison than a preschool. Kayla, a four-year-old whose father is incarcerated, always furrows her brow and retreats when an ICIC Teaching Artist approaches her.  Her father’s absence has made her reluctant to bond with her teachers and form trusting relationships.  Even after several weeks of working with a folk music duo and an African drummer, she is painfully shy. One day, the dance teacher tells Kayla and her classmates that they are going to become the ocean they have been reading about in their book “Skip Through the Seasons”.  The Teaching Artist pulls out yards of billowing turquoise silk. The fabric, smooth as butterfly wings, grazes Kayla’s face and her worry lines suddenly vanish.  For the first time in seven weeks Kayla smiles, diving into the pile of soft silk.  Kayla laughs, her brown eyes full of wonder, and she finally joins the group. Waving the fabric in all directions, Kayla creates ocean waves. She and her classmates learn to read by singing about the seasons, using sign language to swim with dolphins, and dancing like snowflakes falling to the ground. They learn math concepts to the rhythm of an African drum.   At the end of the residency, Kayla and her friends receive a backpack full of new books to take home. For many of the children, these are the first books they have ever owned.

Learn more about Inner City Inner Child and how you can support children like Kayla:

www.innercity-innerchild.org

Mateo’s Story: Love of Learning Is in the Bag

It is mid-autumn at an elementary school in Washington, DC’s Ward 8, but today feels more like a summer day. The school’s bright, yellow walls mirror the warmth and cheer of the balmy weather outside. Later this morning, the school will host performances that mark the end of Inner City-Inner Child’s Dancing With Books program in two of its pre-kindergarten classrooms. Dancing With Books is a five- to 10-week classroom residency in which teaching artists use music, dance, drumming, and art to teach literacy, math, and other skills to preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in DC.

Across the city, preparations for today’s performances are taking place. Inner City-Inner Child staff members are putting colorful backpacks into a small truck and driving to the school through morning rush hour traffic. Two master teaching artists with decades of experience performing with children are loading an acoustic guitar and art supplies into their car, and are also heading to the school. Meanwhile, two teachers are re-arranging the furniture in their classroom to accommodate guests, parents are adjusting their morning schedules, and some excited pre-K students are looking forward to hosting their parents at school on this special day. One of those students is four year-old Mateo, whose radiant, brown eyes and happy spirit make every day feel special.

Mateo’s sunny classroom is abuzz with anticipation. He and some of his classmates look eagerly at the door, and their heads fill with questions: Is Mommy coming? Will she see me? Is Daddy here? Will he sing with me? Mateo can barely contain his excitement when his mother arrives. Although she is there to watch him perform, he turns several times to watch her. But that doesn’t stop him from showing his mother what he has learned from Dancing With Books.

It’s show time! Mateo finds his spot on the classroom’s circle line and performs a lively mélange of original songs and choreography that ICIC’s master teaching artists have created to bring Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe picture book to life. While a guitar strums beautifully in the background, he and the other students turn their heads like penguins, bend their necks like giraffes, and raise their shoulders like buffaloes, encouraged by the book’s irresistible invitation: “Can you do it? I can do it!”

Manya Stojic’s picture book, Rain, is next, for which Mateo and his classmates students don imaginary zebra stripes, rhinoceros horns, and lion claws. They use expressive sign language and sing the unforgettable chorus that the teaching artists have created to tell this suspenseful story about the cycles of rain and drought on an African savannah:

The r-a-a-a-a-a-i-n is coming!
The r-a-a-a-a-a-i-n is coming!
The r-a-a-a-a-a-i-n is coming!
Can you smell [see/hear/feel/taste] the rain?

At the end of the performance, Mateo and each of his classmates receives a backpack full of books to take home, including From Head to Toe and Rain. For some of the students, these may be the first books they have ever owned. Before Mateo’s mother and the other parents leave, the students enthusiastically agree to continue singing, dancing, and reading with their parents at home.

It is now time for other classroom activities, and Mateo’s teacher instructs him and the other students to put their backpacks in their cubbies. Amid the chatter at the cubbies, one child’s voice rises above the others and declares, “I love my new books!” The Dancing With Books residency in Mateo’s classroom is over, but what the students, teachers, and parents gain from the experience will endure long after today’s performance. When Mateo goes home today, picture books won’t be the only thing in his bag. A love of books and learning will be there, too.

To learn more about how our programs help children like Mateo develop lifelong love of learning, click here

For more than two decades, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) has supported early childhood education in Washington, DC through arts education programs and early childhood development training. We provide quality arts integration and early childhood development programs that serve low-income families in DC. ICIC also provides arts-focused professional development programs for teachers who work in early childhood centers and school-based early childhood education programs in DC. In addition, we engage low-income DC parents in child development activities that help them create learning experiences at home.

Closing the Achievement Gap Through Quality Learning Experiences: The Importance of Being Early

Our nation faces a persistent education achievement gap, marked by a vast difference in the academic performance of children in underserved and more advantaged socioeconomic groups. The results of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, for example, show that nearly half (48%) of fourth grade students who received a fully subsidized school lunch were below a basic level of reading proficiency, compared to 17% of the students who were not eligible to receive a subsidized lunch.

The cost of the achievement gap is extremely high. A study by McKinsey & Company estimates that the gap has cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars in economic output, and that “each of the long-standing achievement gaps among U.S. students of differing ethnic origins, income levels, and school systems represents hundreds of billions of dollars in unrealized economic gains.”

Educators, policymakers, and others have appropriately considered a wide range of approaches to solving the complex problem of closing the achievement gap, examples of which include changing teaching and disciplinary practices, increasing school funding, and providing additional support to disadvantaged families. A new study co-authored by the economist James Heckman, and the growing body of research on brain and cognitive development, illuminate three key reasons why providing quality learning experiences early in the lives of children is an essential component of the solution.

1.     Rapid brain development occurs during the early years.

Studies published by Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child inform us that between birth and age three, the human brain develops in remarkable ways that differ from the development that takes place during any other stage in life. During this critical period, the brain forms a foundation for all later learning, health, and behavior.

A child’s experiences during the first three years of life affect the strength of that foundation. High quality interactions between children and their caregivers during this period are especially vital for children’s development of vision, hearing, language, and higher cognitive skills. This makes it important for children under three who spend time away from their parents during the day to interact with skilled caregivers who engage children in “serve and return” and other behaviors that support healthy brain development.

The opportunity to support healthy brain development does not end at age three, but providing early quality support can contribute to a child’s continued development and success in later years, and avoid the cost of remediation when children miss those opportunities.

2.    The achievement gap begins before kindergarten, and when left unaddressed, continues beyond high school

Although studies of the achievement gap in the U.S. typically focus on school performance, research indicates that the gap begins long before school starts. A recent report by Child Trends concludes that in Washington, DC, the gap begins in infancy. The report details how “glaring inequities” in economic status, health, and other aspects of well-being contribute to disparities in early learning and development among the approximately 9,000 babies born each year in our nation’s capital.

Similarly, a study by psychologists at Stanford University found that by age 18 months, “significant disparities” in language proficiency between infants from disadvantaged and more advantaged backgrounds were already evident. By age 24 months, there was a six-month gap between the groups in “processing skills critical to language development.”

Over time, these disparities can worsen and have long-term adverse consequences that persist into adulthood. Without intervention, underserved children who start school behind their more advantaged peers continue to lag behind them in later years in school, are more likely to drop out of high school, and face greater employment challenges.

3.    Quality early learning experiences help close the achievement gap and yield lasting benefits

New research by James Heckman and his colleagues at the University of Chicago and the University of Southern California provides powerful evidence that making quality learning experiences available to underserved children early in life supports their cognitive and social-emotional development, helps close the achievement gap, and benefits them for years after school ends.

Heckman’s research analyzes the long-term benefits of two identical preschool experiments conducted in North Carolina in the 1970s that focused on disadvantaged African American children. As part of the experiments, one group of children (the treatment group) received quality, early childhood-center-based care that included nutrition, access to health care, and early learning, from ages eight weeks to five years. The other group of children (the control group) received either lower-quality center-based care or in-home care during the same period.

The Heckman study examined the effects of these experiments on the participants through age 21. It found that participants in the treatment group had “significantly better life outcomes”—as measured by their cognitive and social-emotional development, high school graduation rates, years of education, health, adult employment, and adult income—than participants in the control group (though the results were different for females and males). Consistent with the Harvard brain development research, Heckman states that “the defining characteristic of a high-quality program, more than a certain staffing ratio or training regimen, is empathetic adults who engage meaningfully with their young charges, giving them personalized attention as they grow and develop.”

The Heckman study also found that:

  • Early exposure to quality care and engaged caregivers from birth gave participants a boost in IQ that endured through the final measurement at age 21.
     
  • IQ gains occurred early in the lives of the participants, with most of the growth in cognitive skills taking place by age three.
     
  • Providing quality care to children from ages zero to five resulted in clear benefits to the public, including reductions in health care costs and crime. Overall, providing quality care produced a 13% per year return on investment, which is significantly higher than the 7-10% return on investment associated with preschool programs for three- to four-year-olds.

Heckman asserts that these results present “very strong evidence for supporting this kind of program going forward.” He stated, “The data speaks for itself. Investing in the continuum of learning from birth to age 5 not only impacts each child, but it also strengthens our country’s workforce today and prepares future generations to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow.”

At Inner City-Inner Child, we see the impact of early education every day, and are proud to provide these benefits of early childhood education to low-income families and children in DC. Our early-learning programs set children on the road to future success which, as this study demonstrates, has a ripple effect that lasts well beyond our classes. To learn more about our programs, click here.


For more than two decades, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) has supported early childhood education in Washington, DC through arts education programs and early childhood development training. We provide quality arts integration and early childhood development programs that serve low-income families in DC. ICIC also provides arts-focused professional development programs for teachers who work in early childhood centers and school-based early childhood education programs in DC. In addition, we engage low-income DC parents in child development activities that help them create learning experiences at home.

The Power of the Arts to Turn Around Struggling Schools

Inner City-Inner Child has previously written about the value of arts education, which research shows prepares students for success in school, work, and life in compelling ways. A recent PBS NewsHour broadcast underscores the value of arts education programs for children in low-performing schools, and highlights its promise as a school reform strategy. The broadcast describes how educators are turning around struggling schools using an arts integration approach.

Featured in the broadcast are interviews with teachers, students, and visiting artists—actress Alfre Woodard, musician Graham Nash, and New York Times writer David Brooks—at ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy, a New Orleans public charter school that uses the arts to help students build math and other skills. ReNEW is participating in a five year-old national program known as Turnaround Arts, created by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, that seeks to improve the performance of dozens of schools across the country through arts integration.

As the ReNEW program demonstrates, arts integration goes beyond giving children opportunities to participate in arts activities at school (which we know from research is a valuable endeavor in its own right). It involves infusing arts activities throughout the school curriculum to promote children’s mastery of other subjects and skills. In the early childhood context, for example, singing raises awareness of phonetic sounds and rhyming, which helps children develop reading skills; the use of drumming and rhythm sticks teaches one-to-one correspondence, an essential early math skill; African dance teaches sequencing skills necessary for reading comprehension and counting; creative movement engages children’s imagination and triggers visualization, another necessary skill for reading comprehension and mathematical computation; and group work teaches critical listening and cooperation skills.

In the PBS NewsHour broadcast, Samantha King, a teaching artist who works for a consulting company that helped design ReNEW’s curriculum, describes why arts integration has such a powerful effect on students in struggling schools:

The general idea of arts integration is to appeal to different modalities of children’s learning. So they get to get up and use perhaps skills and things that they love or are drawn to, theater, dance, visual arts, music. And we find that, when you put both things together, it sticks. I mean, they remember things. It’s in their body memory.

The early success of ReNEW’s arts integration program supports Ms. King’s assertion. According to the PBS NewsHour broadcast, the school recently ranked as one of the lowest performing schools in the state, but is “now showing measurable signs of educational achievement.” Further, the broadcast reports that nationwide:

  •  half of the Turnaround Arts schools improved their attendance rates;
     
  •  the average improvement in math proficiency was 22 percent and close to 13 percent in reading;
     
  •  discipline problems decreased—at ReNEW, for example, suspensions fell by 51 percent; and
     
  •  students showed increased focus and engagement, including ReNEW ninth grader Jared Mullens, whose personal turnaround through the arts caused him to state, “I will be thinking, what more can I achieve in life, instead of just stopping at this point? When I’m in the arts, I’m focused.”

At Inner City-Inner Child, we see the transformative power of the arts each day in our arts integration work with preschool children in Wards 7 and 8—the most economically disadvantaged communities in Washington, DC. We see how singing and dancing with a book to the tune of an acoustic guitar invests children in the excitement of learning to read the book. We pound along with children on oatmeal can “drums” as they learn different ways to count to five from a master drummer. We routinely hear from teachers how our Dancing With Books program “unlocks” hard-to-reach children and allows teachers to discover their students’ strengths. Our own assessments show that children who participate in Dancing With Books gain skills in five learning areas that are vital to success in kindergarten—literacy, creativity, math, social-emotional development, and physical development.

Kathy Fletcher, the National Director of Turnaround Arts, makes the case in the PBS NewsHour interview for making arts integration programs available to more children in struggling schools:

In the decades past, the first thing to get cut when budgets are going are the arts. And I think a lot of people thought that families would get their own art lessons and dance classes. And there’s about six million kids in this country who are in public schools, charter schools, who don’t have those opportunities, so they don’t get any arts in school. And to have something that positive and that joyful to kick-start literacy and a lot of the other core content subjects, it just seems like a smart way to teach.

Learn more about how our arts education programs for children are having an impact here.

 For more than two decades, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) has supported early childhood education in Washington, DC through arts education programs and early childhood development training. We provide quality arts integration and early childhood development programs that serve low-income families in DC. ICIC also provides arts-focused professional development programs for teachers who work in early childhood centers and school-based early childhood education programs in DC. In addition, we engage low-income DC parents in child development activities that help them create learning experiences at home.

Welcoming Another Great Year of Preschool Arts and Literacy!

Inner City-Inner Child’s Goals for 2017

Join us for a Happy New Year in 2017!

Thanks to our supporters, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) had an outstanding 2016, combining the power of the visual and performing arts and the magic of literature to create vibrant, meaningful, and long-lasting educational experiences for preschoolers in the most disadvantaged communities in our nation’s capital.

In addition to loving the work we do with children, teachers, parents, and our team of teaching artists, we made significant strides in our mission of helping to place preschool children in low-income communities in Washington, DC on the road to literacy and future success by empowering their educators to use the arts to teach academic skills. 

As we welcome 2017, we are delighted to share with you this summary of our preschool arts and literacy approach, our fiscal year 2016 accomplishments, our fiscal year 2017 goals, and our plans for the future. We look forward to spending another great year with you!


Our Approach to Preschool Arts and Literacy

ICIC envisions a world in which every child has access to quality early childhood development programs, and every early childhood educator has access to quality professional development.

To achieve our mission and vision, we use a three-tiered approach:

  1. Arts and literacy programs and book donations for underserved preschool children

  2. Professional development workshops and literacy trainings for their early childhood teachers

  3. Family literacy workshops for the children’s parents and caregivers    

The centerpiece of our programming is Dancing With Books, a 5-10 week classroom residency with teaching artists that includes African dance and drumming, creative movement, music, and singing, culminating in a dynamic final performance with artists, children, and teachers.


Our FY 2016 Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2016 (July 2015 - June 2016), we had an extraordinary year in which:

  • ICIC served 3,517 children in DC’s Wards 7 and 8, the communities with the most young children, and the greatest need for high quality early childhood education programs.

  • 438 teachers earned 1,175 professional development hours certified by DC’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).

  • We held a total of 232 workshops, including 186 Dancing With Books workshops and 17 Naptime U. professional development workshops.

  • 45 families participated in two Read With Me family literacy workshops.

  • ICIC donated 1,927 books to children and their families.

  • We were honored to be finalists for the 30th Annual Mayor's Award for Excellence in Arts Education.

  • We were proud to be featured in the 2016-2017 Catalogue for Philanthropy, the DC area’s venerable guide to giving.


Our FY 2017 Goals

ICIC’s overarching goal each year is to close the achievement gap for preschoolers from low-income families in DC by: (1) improving the professional skills of teachers and the academic skills of the students we serve; and (2) increasing our output numbers from the previous year.

Toward that end, in fiscal year 2017 (July 2016 - June 2017), we seek to:

  • Reach 3,800 vulnerable children in early childhood centers and school pre-K classrooms in DC’s most challenged neighborhoods.

  • Distribute 2,200 quality, developmentally appropriate books to early childhood education programs and to preschool children to take home.

  • Create cozy classroom reading corners with books, bookcases, and soft rugs.

  • Train 700 teachers from child development centers and school pre-K programs in low-income communities in DC.

  • Reach 95 low-income families to show them ways to become involved with their children’s early literacy and learning.


Our Future Plans

To accomplish our goals for FY 2017 and beyond, we plan to:

  • Expand our infant-toddler (age 0-3) programs to support community-based child development centers.

  • Continue our expansion into DC public school (DCPS) and charter school pre-K classrooms.

  • Increase parent engagement through expanding our new partnership with Project Create.

  • Expand our teaching artist team to meet the growing demand for ICIC programs.


THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT.
PLEASE JOIN US FOR ANOTHER GREAT YEAR!


For more than two decades, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) has supported early childhood education in Washington, DC through arts education programs and early childhood development training. We provide quality arts integration and early childhood development programs that serve low-income families in DC. ICIC also provides arts-focused professional development programs for teachers who work in early childhood centers and school-based early childhood education programs in DC. In addition, we engage low-income DC parents in child development activities that help them create learning experiences at home.

Compelling Reasons to Value Arts Education

Arts education programs for children enjoy popular support in the United States, but are frequently underfunded, and often receive lower priority in the curriculum than other subjects receive when schools face tough budget decisions. While many supporters of arts education have a general understanding that it is good for children, some are less familiar with the specific benefits that it provides. Amid continued pressure on funding for the arts, an increased focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, and mounting controversy about national learning standards, it is important for all who influence education decisions—including policymakers, administrators, teachers, parents, and investors—to have a clear understanding of how arts education benefits children, and value it accordingly in their decision-making.

A report by the Arts Education Partnership demonstrates that the arts prepare students for success in school, work, and life in compelling ways:

  • Success in school—Arts education:
    • Boosts literacy and language arts skills
    • Advances math achievement
    • Engages students in school and motivates them to learn
    • Develops critical thinking
    • Improves school culture
  • Success in work—Arts education:
    • Equips students to be creative
    • Strengthens problem solving ability
    • Builds collaboration and communication skills
    • Increases capacity for leadership
  • Success in life—Arts education:
    • Strengthens perseverance
    • Facilitates cross-cultural understanding
    • Builds community and supports civic engagement
    • Fosters a creative community

Research also shows that arts education has compelling benefits for early learners. A literature review by the National Endowment for the Arts, for example, demonstrates the social and emotional benefits of arts education in early childhood:

  • Social skills development—Arts education:
    • Is positively associated with developing social skills, such as helping, sharing, caring, and empathizing with others
  • Emotional regulation—Arts education:
    • Helps children regulate their emotions, a critical skill for well-adjusted children and adults

Further, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC)’s own assessments show that our arts education programs help young children develop skills in areas that are vital to success in kindergarten:

  • Kindergarten readiness—ICIC’s arts residency programs (based in early childhood classrooms) have helped children achieve gains in five learning areas in pre- and post-assessments:
    • Social-emotional development
    • Literacy
    • Math
    • Arts
    • Physical development

These studies are only a portion of the abundant evidence that arts education benefits children, including early learners, in myriad ways. They shift arts education out of the realm of optional programs that are generally good for children into the realm of essential programs that advance our nation’s highest goals for education, the economy, and humanity. Consideration of the specific benefits that arts education provides—and a clear understanding of the compelling value of those benefits—should be at the forefront of decision-making about funding and prioritizing arts education.

For more than two decades, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) has supported early childhood education in Washington, DC through arts education programs and early childhood development training. We provide quality arts integration and early childhood development programs that serve low-income families in DC. ICIC also provides arts-focused professional development programs for teachers who work in early childhood centers and school-based early childhood education programs in DC. In addition, we engage low-income DC parents in child development activities that help them create learning experiences at home.

What Is the Impact on Children of Your Gift to Inner City-Inner Child During this Holiday Season? A World of Difference

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Dr. Seuss, the beloved children’s book author, is credited with saying “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” His words perfectly capture the impact that your gift to Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) during this holiday season has on the children we serve.

We live in a time of staggering need in our nation’s capital:

  • 34% of children in Washington, DC live in poverty.
  • By age 3, children from professional families have heard 30 million more words than children from lower-income households.
  • 81% of fourth graders in DC are reading below grade level.
  • 60% of low income-families have NO books for their children at home.

When you give to ICIC, you defeat these troubling statistics and make an immediate difference in the lives of the children we serve. In addition to allowing children to learn from skilled teaching artists through our Dancing With Books classroom residency, gifts to ICIC make it possible for children to:

  • take home a backpack full of picture books—for some, these are the first books they will ever own
  •  enjoy reading with their parents at home, thanks to a family literacy packet we provide that includes books and music
  • view reading as a warm and positive experience, with the addition of a cozy reading sofa and a rug to their classroom
  • have access to high quality literature in their classroom library, which we stock with new books.

When you give to ICIC, you give to a program that works. Our assessments show that children gain literacy, math, and other academic skills when they participate in Dancing With Books. These gains are potentially life-changing for preschool children from low-income backgrounds. If these children enter kindergarten ready to learn, this early academic success can change the trajectory of their lives, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.

In sum, when you give to ICIC during this holiday season, your gift makes a world of difference to the children we serve. Happy holidays to you from all of us at ICIC, and thank you for your generosity.

For more than two decades, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) has supported early childhood education in Washington, DC through arts education programs and early childhood development training. We provide quality arts integration and early childhood development programs that serve low-income families in DC. ICIC also provides arts-focused professional development programs for teachers who work in early childhood centers and school-based early childhood education programs in DC. In addition, we engage low-income DC parents in child development activities that help them create learning experiences at home.

Madison's Story: Leaping into a Joyful Journey to Literacy

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On a warm autumn morning at an early childhood center in Washington, DC’s Deanwood community, a group of children and their teachers gather in a circle for Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC)’s African Drumming and Dance class. The children are only two years old, but their vibrant energy and riveted attention make them seem older, and show that they are eager for today’s learning adventure.

The African Drumming and Dance class is part of ICIC’s Dancing with Books program, in which artists use music, dance, drumming, and art to teach literacy, math, and other skills to preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in DC. The theme for this year’s program is Journeys, which introduces children to the idea that a book can take you anywhere.

In today’s class, the dance teacher leads the children through lively and interactive singing, sign language, and movement activities, designed to engage them in a picture book. Then one by one, she invites the children individually to the center of the circle to express themselves through dance.

Most of the children participate fully, and with great joy, in the literacy journey that the dance teacher has started with them. Along the way, they will learn how singing, signing, and moving bring the words in a book to life. The children’s journey and the joy that they experience on it will eventually help them learn to read.

But one young girl, Madison, seems more comfortable observing than going on the journey with them. She is attentive, but watches with quiet eyes, and moves cautiously. The dance teacher notices this, and when it is Madison turn to dance in the center of the circle, she reaches her hands out to Madison, gently leads her in, one small step at a time, and dances with her.

That brief, but tender gesture transforms Madison’s experience. She is now confident and enthusiastic, and when the dance teacher invites all of the children into the center of the circle a few minutes later, Madison does not hold back. This time, she smiles and quickly moves to the center with both feet at once, leaping into a joyful journey to wherever the books she learns to read will take her.

For more than two decades, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) has supported early childhood education in Washington, DC through arts education programs and early childhood development training. We provide quality arts integration and early childhood development programs that serve low-income families in DC. ICIC also provides arts-focused professional development programs for teachers who work in early childhood centers and school-based early childhood education programs in DC. In addition, we engage low-income DC parents in child development activities that help them create learning experiences at home.