In-School Residencies

We believe that theater is a powerful tool for education. When drama meets the Common Core, learning becomes activated.

Our partnerships with elementary and middle schools allow students to experience ELA and Social Studies through the lens of theater.

Beyond academics, our programming brings social-emotional learning directly into the classroom in joyful, creative and purposeful ways.

We work with closely with the administration in our partner schools to ensure that each of our residencies is tailor-built to meet the goals of the school.

Preschool theater camp playing in camp

Theater Arts In the Classroom

For PreK through 8th Grade

In residencies with our partner schools, we blend theater arts with customized curriculums that tie in ELA and the Common Core. Our goal is to support teachers by providing indelible and exciting frameworks for academic material as well as offer kids an opportunity to stretch themselves artistically. 

– Activate student voice, and consider perspectives.
– Inspire a new way to unpack and explore curriculum.
– Create opportunities for self-expression that promote confidence and collaboration.
– Harness Social Emotional Learning through exercises and games.

In a meeting with Jocelyn Greene, Executive Director of Child’s Play NY, administrators share the academic and SEL goals for the partnership. Based on this conversation, we design a customized theater-arts program aligned with the curriculum and to support the needs of the school. 

Past programs include: 

– PreK: Light & Shadows; Transportation
– Kindergarten: My School & Community; Bridges; Animals
– 1st: Families & Ancestry; Changemakers; Rainforest
– 2nd: New York City; Farms; Fairy Tales & Folktales
– 3rd: Global Geography; Ancient China Study; Poetry
– 4th: Native Americans in New York; Revolutionary War; Community Activism
– 5th: Inventions; Natural Resources in Canada; Mesoamerica
– 6th-8th: Greek Mythology; Student Life Reflections; Shakespeare

Contact us to bring this residency to your school.


Historical Perspectives Playwriting

The American Revolution

Using the fourth grade Common Core curriculum, we have developed an engaging residency that ignites students’ understanding of history through theater.

In the initial stages of the residency, students work closely with our teaching artists to understand the nature of drama, conflict and character. While they explore the actor’s toolbox through improvisational exercises, they will also hone their listening skills, teamwork, bravery, commitment and specificity. They then apply those principles to their own playwriting, as they use their knowledge of the Revolutionary War to generate original material.

Students select a voice they want to represent in a theatrical performance as well as a creative/dramatic writing style they wish to use. They write an original piece in the voice of their character and have the opportunity to present this work in a way that will showcase their self-expression. The culminating experience is a celebration of the creative process and multiple perspectives as they make history come alive.

This work not only activates students’ interest in American History, but gives them practice with empathy and perspective-taking: key social emotional-learning tenants.

Learn more about the benefits of our residencies and contact us to bring this residency to your school.


Social-Emotional Shakespeare

For Grades 3-8

Through complex text and conflicted characters, Shakespeare provides a rich experience for students to explore and hone their most foundational life skills: self-awareness, critical thinking, empathy, relationship-building and more.

This customizable residency ties research-backed social and emotional learning competencies with a live Shakespeare performance and post-show workshops.

How Shakespeare Teaches Social-Emotional Learning

From rage and betrayal to love and joy, Shakespeare’s got them all. Through storytelling, role-playing, movement and conversations, we help students deep dive into their own emotions and learn how to identify and process them in new ways. This is among the most powerful and cathartic work we do.

Theater helps students get outside of themselves and build connections with one another. During our Shakespeare workshops, students learn how to handle conflict, work cooperatively and communicate thoughtfully in a safe environment.

In order to play Shakespeare’s deeply human characters, students must first understand them. By using Shakespeare’s text and purposeful theater games, students explore the psychology behind complex characters. By working on roles from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, they learn about back-story, labelling, and perspective-taking. By doing so, they build greater compassion, empathy and emotional intelligence.

The process of making theater is filled with milestones for students—from learning their first few lines to pulling off a captivating performance. We help students set individual and collective goals for their workshop experience and then provide a framework for reaching those goals and falling short. In doing so, we help students bolster both their confidence and their resilience.

Research shows that students who engage in social and emotional learning activities have lower rates of anxiety, depression and emotional distress and improved attitudes of themselves, helping abilities and academic performances. We’re thrilled to offer schools this new opportunity to help kids unleash their creativity and imagination while boosting these crucial skills.

Learn more about the benefits of our work.

Contact us to bring this residency to your school.

Residency FAQs

There are two parts to our program: 1) a thrilling live performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream done by professional actors that comes directly to your school. 2) classroom visits by our teaching-artists that tie in the Shakespeare text with meaningful SEL work. Depending on your goals with the residency, there is a customizable amount of post-show workshops.

This program is for schools who want to tie in SEL and the Arts in a meaningful way. Adults and children of all ages can enjoy the play, and the post-show workshops were designed for 3rd through 8th graders. We adjust the curriculum, depending on what age of student we are targeting, to be developmentally appropriate and academically rigorous.

Both the show and the workshops are a natural way for students to explore their own emotions, understand conflict, practice perspective taking and empathy…all while exposing kids to Shakespeare at an age where they are excited by it.

Child’s Play NY teaching artists are both the actors and teachers. The ensemble of 12 actors who perform the play are classically trained with MFAs from top theater schools such as Tisch, Juilliard and Brown. They have performed Shakespeare across the country, on Broadway and at the Public Theater. Additionally, they are seasoned teachers, with years of experience bringing their passion for the stage into the classroom.

Jocelyn Greene, Executive Director of Child’s Play NY, devised the curriculum of the residency. She drew from her work as a student (MFA, NYU Graduate Acting, BA, Wesleyan University), an actor (The Public Theater, NYSF), and a teacher (Will Power to Youth, Oddfellows Playhouse, Epic Theater) to develop the programming. The post-show work of research-backed SEL games were created in conjunction with developmental PhDs. Jocelyn Greene is an advisor with Mt Siani Parenting Center, you can learn more about her collaborations in the mental health field here.

The performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs 50 minutes. There is a post-show dialogue and workshop for 45 minutes that we do immediately following the show with the assembled audience. We need a large open space for the play such as an auditorium or gym. We require no lights or sound set-up.

There is a flat fee for the performance and then we charge per class per visit. We send in three teaching artists per classroom to work with a group of up to 30 children. The cost goes goes down depending on how many workshops you elect to do with Child’s Play NY. We recommend doing at least three post-show workshops to get the benefit of the work. Read this for a complete break-down of fees.

Funds raised by the PTA or through the DOE’s Arts Partnership Grants. We are happy to advise on the grant-writing process.

The performance features 12 teaching artists. The post-show workshops are run by 3 teaching artists in a classroom of up to 30 students.

The classroom teachers don’t need to prepare anything. The residency is designed to function independently of the school’s curriculum and we will not be adding expectations to t. We will provide a program to prepare the audience to listen to the play, as well as a one-sheet for the teachers to read to the students before they watch the play. If the goal is an end-of-residency performance by the students, we need to plan for 10+ residency visits. In that case we ask that memorization goals be added to the student’s homework responsibilities.

Yes. The Shakespeare Workshop can function as an arts-elective for students and can run the course of a trimester or semester.

Please contact us and include basic information about your school and goals. We will then schedule a phone call with Jocelyn Greene. For residencies of more than 3 times, Jocelyn will come to the school and have a preliminary meeting with the Administration, PTO, Arts Committee etc.


7-12 year olds singing hamilton at theater summer camp hamilton camp

Author’s Study

All Grades

Child’s Play NY leads interactive exercises that connect thematically to each grades’ author study. Students investigate the author’s voice and create short performance pieces. 

Past programs include: Ezra Jack Keats, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Alma Flor Ada, Eve Bunting, Jacqueline Woodson

Contact us to bring this residency to your school.


Theater Electives for Schools

For Middle School Students

With a focused study for middle school grades, Child’s Play NY can push into the school day to provide elective enrichment for students interested in a more immersive performing arts experience.


Students will use their creativity, compassion and confidence to build a story they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. Individually, each student will craft a play, and together they will workshop their scenes, exercising their acting, directing, and most importantly, imagination skills. Students will learn the basics of playwriting and be able to present any and all parts of their theatrical story. All classes will include individual assignments and collaborative opportunities. Each day will be structured so that all participants have the chance to learn and study other writers’ work, write for 10-15 minutes and share their words with each other. By being creative with each other and actively supporting each other’s work, students will emerge with meaningful connections and a strong sense of their writing and collaborative abilities. Class can culminate in a staged reading and manuscript of students’ original work.

Shakespeare & Devised Scene Study

Students jump into the worlds of Shakespeare in this robust mash-up of improvisation and classic text scene study class. After learning the plot and characters from several plays, they rehearse and memorize scenes from the original text. New material, devised by the cast, adds a contemporary through-line to their show and highlights the universality of Shakespeare’s themes. Young actors develop a rigorous and rewarding way of working to find the emotional truth of their characters and connect it back to their personal voice. They are empowered to create their own material, make strong and specific choices, develop back stories and apply vocal/physical techniques they learn. The class culminates in a showcase of their scenes.

Learn more about the benefits of our residencies and contact us to bring this residency to your school.

“Child's Play NY teaching artists are pure magic. And we need magic at a time like this! My 4th graders' theater residency was interrupted when school shut down, and Child's Play worked with me to continue to provide authentic, imaginative, and uplifting theater experiences for my students right in their own living rooms. Seeing the kids' faces light up during our online classes brings me such joy. Parents and kids have reached out to tell me how much the teachers and classes mean to them. It's a wonderful way to connect with each other and enter a world of pure imagination.”
Katie Adams, 4th Grade Humanities Teacher, Arts and Letters 305 United
“This is the best theater group for kids in NYC. Jocelyn and her team are knowledgeable and creative, and produce wonderful plays with children. They are also amazing at building community with the students—along with acting/theater skills. The students are very close and kind/supportive to each other, rejoicing in each other's triumphs.”
Joy Nolan, Division of Teaching and Learning, NYC Dept of Education
“Jocelyn designed thoughtful, intentional, intellectually pressing, age-appropriate, rich, detailed lesson plans that I still use to this day, and the kids never missed a beat. Her level of professionalism and commitment is unparalleled, and her positive energy is infectious.”
Elissa Krebbs, Head of English Department, Packer Collegiate Institute
“I cannot recommend Child’s Play highly enough. When school closed halfway through the twice-weekly residency, Jocelyn Greene and her staff quickly reorganized and took the class online. The final project--a TV “news show” on the American Revolution--was delightful and rich with educational content. The format was flexible enough to meet each kid where she was. The artist/teachers, in their roles as TV hosts, gently “interviewed” performers to elicit more information when needed, and deftly supported the more camera-shy so that they felt comfortable performing and sharing what they’d learned. Since the teachers are performers themselves, they bring deep experience in acting, improv and comedy, skills that make them particularly well-suited to teaching online. Their warmth, playfulness and humor created a shared space for the kids at a time when it was all too easy to feel isolated, disengaged and “zoomed out.""
Liz Kastor, Guardian of 4th Grade Student