In-School Residencies

We believe that theater is a powerful tool for education.

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

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

Residency Menu 2018-2019


Social-Emotional Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Performance & Workshop

Trial of the Conquistadores: Historical Perspective Playwriting


Schools We’re In

Social-Emotional Shakespeare Residency


A Midsummer Night’s Dream Performance and Workshops

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

Watch a Video from Our Performance & Workshop!

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.

Interested in bringing our Shakespeare workshop to your school? Get in touch!

5 Keys to Social and Emotional Learning, Edutopia
The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)


Benefits of Our Work


Our theater programs help students…

  • Build their social and emotional skills. As schools look for opportunities to integrate social and emotional learning into their in-school and after-school programs, our customized SEL workshops tie research-backed SEL competencies with meaningful Shakespeare theater events.
  • Explore and understand the human condition. The characters we explore are conflicted, complex and deeply human. In order to understand them, we have meaningful conversations about what it means to be human.
  • Boost executive functioning skills. We create opportunities for students to further hone their EF skills—like paying attention, remembering details, switching focus (and more!)—in a joy-filled, playful environment.
  • Tap into their innate empathy. Theatre making provides children with the skills they need to be compassionate. Each of our experiences is designed to help kids build their social and emotional intelligence through the artistry of theater and play.
  • Create connections and a sense of community. Theatre allows ALL kinds of kids to get outside themselves and build connections with one another.
  • Learn how to think outside of the box. The most innovative and successful organizations want employees who know how to think differently. Our theater programs teach kids how to build their imagination and continue to exercise it throughout their lives.
  • Bring the lessons they’re learning in the classroom to life. We partner with schools to create customized curriculums that tie in ELA and Common Core with meaningful theater events. Our Mock Trial and Shakespeare residency programs are thrilling learning experiences.  While they benefit classroom teachers they also provide indelible and exciting frameworks for academic material and an opportunity for kids to stretch themselves beyond what they thought possible.
How does the Shakespeare Residency work?

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.  

Who is this for?

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.

What makes this program unique and important?

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.


Who does the show and facilitates the workshops?

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.

How did you devise the SEL curriculum?

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.  

How long is the play and what do you need to perform it?

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.  

What does this cost?

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.

How can we pay for this?

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

How many teaching artists come to the school?

The performance features 12 teaching artists.

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

What do my school’s teachers need to do or prepare?

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.  

Can this program be an arts-elective during our school-day?

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

I’m interested in bringing this to my school. What are the next steps?

Please fill this short form out so we have 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.

We have loved developing our relationship with Child’s Play NY. From their creative after school classes, to the in-school production, Jocelyn and her team have opened our eyes and our imaginations. There is creativity and thought poured into every movement, action and direction. We are so lucky to have them help us develop our Co-op School theater program!

Meredith Gray

Executive Director, The Co-Op School

Jocelyn designed thoughtful, intentional, intellectually pressing, age-appropriate, rich, detailed lesson plans that I still use to this day.  Her level of professionalism and commitment is unparalleled, and her positive energy is infectious.

Elissa Krebs

Head of English Department, Packer Collegiate Institute

Jocelyn was an exceptional addition to our classroom community. Though our class had a set of diverse needs, Jocelyn was able to seamlessly integrate every child in our into the drama experience, mentoring them along the way. We recommend her wholeheartedly to classrooms citywide.

Tara Maurice

Head Teacher, PS3

Jocelyn and her team create a magical combo of deep artistry, combined with warm/friendly community. The kids achieve great heights, and become dear friends because of their shared creative endeavor. Exceptional, amazing, fabulous. My daughter wants to be a Shakespearean actress, and reads Shakespeare for pleasure.

Joy Nolan

Co-Director of New York's Mastery Collaborative, NYC Department of Education

Child’s Play NY is the answer to any parent looking for a positive children’s classical theatre experience. Jocelyn was beyond accommodating in designing a program that fit our needs.

The instructors were not only inspiring and captivating but also created an environment where the students felt as though they belonged to a professional acting troupe. The performances were masterfully designed around the performers and Shakespeare’s beautiful language. I am truly grateful for the wonderful experience Child’s Play NY has given my daughter and look forward to many more productions.
Dee Donnelly


Customized Residencies

Here are some specific in-school programming we have designed for our partner schools:

Bully: The Musical (PS 3, West Village, Manhattan)

Fairy Tales Redux (The Co-op School, Brooklyn)

The Brooklyn Bridge Play (Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn)

4th Grade Playwriting (The Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn)

To discuss a customized residency contact us.


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