ECSE Receives Teaching Grant

ECSE Receives Teaching Grant
Posted on 02/09/2018
Anna with Students

Early Childhood Programs Receive Grant


VSA Minnesota, an organization that helps make the arts accessible to Minnesotans with disabilities, has awarded the Farmington Early Childhood Center with an exciting teaching grant!


Students enrolled in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) and/or Wee Tigers programs have the opportunity to learn from Anna Grudzinski, a Teaching Artist and Music Therapist provided by VSA Minnesota. Anna will visit the 3-year-old classrooms twice a week for an 8 week period, which began in mid-January and runs through the middle of February 2018.


“We worked with VSA Minnesota to decide what type of interactions our students would most enjoy and benefit from,” said Cathy VanGrunsven, a teacher with ECSE. “Together, we decided we wanted to use this grant to incorporate music therapy into our classrooms. By exposing children to different types of music, movement and instruments, we are seeing each student bring their own unique artistic talent to the table, that’s what so great.”


This work is done through the Artist-in-Residence Program, a subgroup of VSA Minnesota, and is specially designed by teaching artists and ECSE staff (with support from VSA Minnesota) with young students with disabilities and their peers in mind. Teachings through this grantwork are aligned with the Minnesota Department of Education Academic Standards in the Arts and/or individual student I.E.P. goals. The teaching artists provided to the classrooms are familiar with various disabilities and are trained in effective methods for adapting techniques and differentiating instruction to reach all learners.

Each session, Anna is able to thoroughly engage all students in the musical activities she brings, while working with the children to enhance skills in many areas of early childhood development.

Social skills are facilitated through performing as a group, patiently waiting for and anticipating an individual turn, and sharing and passing instruments to each other.


Communication and cognitive skills are reinforced through the introduction and practice of language concepts and vocabulary as well as in the exploration of different ways to make sounds with the instruments introduced.


Motor skills are enhanced through the manipulation of the instruments and mallets to make different sounds as well as imitating motions during dance and movement activities.


The music therapy residency has shown to be extremely beneficial for all students and staff involved. ECSE staff hopes this program can be a yearly endeavor.

Thank you VSA Minnesota for ensuring that music, theater, dance, creative writing, and visual and media arts play a part in the lives of our children. This experience in the arts has enhanced each students personal growth, increased educational achievement and enabled school success. Click here to view more photos!


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