Teaching Philosophy

At NCT we believe theatre skills are life skills.

We celebrate each student’s individuality. Regardless of their age, experience, ability, gender, who they love, economic status, where they come from, religion, ethnicity, or how their brains and bodies experience, process, and traverse the world – they belong at NCT.

We believe in the power of ‘play’ and the greater learning that is derived from it. We cherish joyful play, playing with, and playing along.

We honor the process more than the product. It is important to us for every young person to feel heard, celebrated, and uplifted. We strive to pass the light to all of the young people we serve. We embrace the notion of ‘productive struggle’ – that the journey is the purpose, not a means to an end. That ‘failures’ should be joyfully reframed as steps towards understanding. Practice makes progress. We embrace change. We believe in the power of the ensemble and that no singular person is more important than another. In all things, we rise and fall together.

We believe in celebrating our similarities and our differences.

We believe in ‘the work’ – knowing that the skills that theatre instills will help to make the world more just, empathetic, and kind.

We know that practices that benefit some of our students also benefit all of our students. We support our neurodiverse, physically disabled, and LGBTQ+ students both in practice and in policy.

We meet every student where they are, right now, and we are committed to who they are becoming.

We will always strive and continue to learn, grow, listen, and respond.

Access & Inclusion

Every child belongs here.

Our Drama School continually strives to learn and grow as the world changes in relation to access and inclusion practices. We are founding members of the All Access Inclusion Network (AAIN), and continue to update and analyze our policies and practices in continuing partnership.

We provide inclusion training for all of our education staff members. This instruction includes general knowledge and empathetic understanding training, childhood development training, classroom management techniques, as well as the implementation of the following mandatory in-class resources and teaching methods:

  • All classes have visual schedules, depicting what will happen that day – so students know what to expect
  • All classes have fidgets available to them, should a student require a fidget tool
  • All classes have a ‘chill corner’ where students can take a break if a game or exercise is becoming too over-stimulating
  • All classes have noise-reducing headphones available for students who need them
  • All classes have access to visual timers (sand timers, bubble timers, and visual clock timers)
  • All classes will make accommodations for mobility and physical disabilities
  • All classes utilize verbal as well as discussed written expectations so students understand classroom behavioral expectations
  • All class name tags are printed in the color and have the name of the class color printed on them for colorblind students
  • All areas of the theatre are accessible for students in wheelchairs
  • All education employment applicants will have interview questions sent to them prior to interviews

Social stories can be found below to help navigate our In-Person Day-Long Camps, Saturday Classes, and Online Classes. A Social Story is a tool to help improve a child’s understanding of expectations during an unfamiliar event and were originally designed to support students who are neurodiverse. However, this can be a useful tool for any student who is unsure about what to expect from a new experience. We share these resources to make NCT classes inclusive for ALL students.

 

If you would like to let us know about your young person’s social/developmental/physical needs, please give Colin Peterson, our Director of Education, a call at 615-254-4664. Being a fully inclusive environment, we will make accommodations to meet the needs of your young person regardless of their diagnosis, disability, or medical need. The more we know about your student and the strategies that work best with and for them, the better we can serve them!

LGBTQ+ Support

A safe place for all of our students.

NCT provides an open and inclusive space for all students and is a part of Metropolitan Nashville’s Safe Place Program, which identifies businesses that are a safe space for those experiencing bias crimes. We support all of our students by inquiring and using a student’s preferred names and pronouns, and so we require all registrations to include preferred pronouns of attending students. We do this so that everyone at NCT knows who a student is and how they like to be spoken to/about. These pronouns are then printed on nametags for inclusion and acknowledgment practices in the classroom. This is helpful for our Teaching Artists as well as our students, regardless of their personal identity, because now everyone knows how to refer to them.

Students are welcome to change their preferred name/pronouns should they choose during the class session. These names and pronouns might be different than what they use at home. Consequently, if a student confides in us that they are not ‘out’ at home, we will protect a student’s confidentiality and use the names and pronouns that were listed on the student’s registration when communicating to grown-ups, but use the preferred names and pronouns during class/camp.

Additionally, all of NCT staff members’ plastic nametags include the staff member’s pronouns. Our Teaching Artists use a salutation and their first name when students are referencing them. Familiar salutations of Mr./Ms./Mrs. are often used, however, we also use non-gendered salutations such as Mx. (pronounced, Mix – eg. Mix Colin), or Tr. (short for Teacher – eg. Teacher Colin).

Students are allowed to use the bathroom that best matches their gender identity. There are also individual bathrooms accessible to all students should they prefer to have an individual bathroom for their usage.

Also, we are committed to telling stories about characters from the LGBTQ+ community. Showing our students that they are seen and worthy of stories being told about and with them.

Anti-Racism

A safe place for all of our students.

NCT’s Education Department stands by our organization’s commitment to anti-racist practices. We continue to strive to learn and listen to our disenfranchised communities, knowing that we can always do better and be better. Currently, the Education department follows through with NCT’s Anti-Racism statements with the following:

  • Continued training on anti-racist practices for both Teaching Artists as well as full-time staff
  • Training on de-escalation techniques
  • Training on trauma-informed and culturally-responsive practices
  • Providing resources in our curricular supports for teachers as well as social media for families to interface and continue conversations about racism and anti-racist practices
  • Stating a Land Acknowledgement at the beginning of every Drama School production
  • Creating pathways for Artists of Color to become faculty Teaching Artists
  • Paying our education interns
  • Including free extended care during our week-long drama camps
  • Telling and respecting stories from different cultures in our play-building classes
  • Presenting and dramatizing picture books about non-male, non-white, non-binary characters in our creative drama and page-to-stage classes
  • Careful selection of shows and casting choices, acknowledging that some shows and casting practices are rooted in racism
  • All education job postings will have salaries and contract fees listed up-front

Financial Assistance

Giving access to all students

We believe that all young people in Middle Tennessee deserve access to high-quality arts programming regardless of their financial situation. Nashville Children’s Theatre’s Family Access Membership, or FAM, is a streamlined way of offering scholarships to our classes and camps, as well as discounted tickets to our shows. Scholarships and discounts are offered to families on a sliding scale based on financial need or family circumstances. We use the national guidelines for free and reduced lunch to assign levels of assistance and are more than happy to help with applications for assistance.

Seeking Financial Assistance? Visit the Financial Assistance page for registration information.

This webpage is a ‘living document’, meaning that the words written here will grow and change as we grow and change as a department. We welcome any discussion, questions, or concerns about this page or any of the programs that we offer.

 

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