Please note that since the publication of this review, At This Stage merged with their sister company and became The Creative Difference LLC. You can find registration info for this program and others like it here.
Welcome to At This Stage programs in the dramatic arts. Founded by J. Jaye Steen, the organization operates enrichment programs for students of all ages, working with schools to offer programs for Pre-K through 12th graders. I was invited to visit their Children’s Evening Out Program- a drop-off program held every second Saturday for kids ages 3-10 at Trinity Presbyterian in Arlington.
When I arrived, all the teachers were wearing capes, the kids were all in costume, and everyone was laughing. Creative chaos was everywhere to be seen. Piles of costumes that the kids had set aside after trying on one identity or another were a colorful counterpoint to the organized activity- Rock Paper Scissors Duels- that held every kid in the room in total thrall. A clay building activity was on hold at the craft table, and the results of the Monster Mask Making (a tie-in to one of the books they read) were everywhere.
We all know that our kids explore their identities and learn social skills through pretend play. Here were all the underpinnings for a spectacular evening of skill-building and role play. (Kids just call it “fun.”) The outgoing, extroverted kids were in their element, and the ones who might have struggled with shyness in another setting had a fun, safe, and inclusive opportunity in which to build their confidence. Turn taking and individual attention from the staff made sure each kid had a chance to shine.
Meanwhile, I imagine the parents were enjoying their Grownup Time. I lament the fact that my dude is a notoriously early-to-bed kid and couldn’t possibly stay up long enough to enjoy this program, but if your child is not so afflicted, you should definitely sign them up. The next session will be 4/14.
If your school or organization (church, independent bookstore, coffee shop, homeschool co-op, etc) would like to host a session of an At This Stage Program, you should definitely contact J. Jaye. She’s prepared to bring this curricular awesomeness to any NOVA location.
But wait! THERE’S MORE! Miss J. Jaye has donated not one, but TWO Children’s Evening Out passes to our March for Babies Auctions! That will be going live soon (See the March For Babies page for more details) so get ready- make sure you are registered for the March for Babies and a member of our Team. “Like” At This Stage on Facebook! And, if you haven’t “liked” our facebook page yet, remember, the giveaway will be announced there first! You want to be sure you have plenty of time to complete the maximum number of entries!