Educational Resources

The Charleston Gaillard Center’s Education and Community Program offers free resources to teachers, students, and the Lowcountry community.

Our Director of Education, Sterling deVries, M.Ed., and our Education Manager, Stephanie Lancaster, create lesson plans purposefully and carefully to correlate with the South Carolina Department of Education Standards, highlighting arts-enhanced curriculum. The Gaillard Center also works with community partners to share educational resources with the Lowcountry. We have activities and resources for ALL ages.



Ms. Watkins is a graduate of Beloit College with a BA in Creative Writing and was the 2012 recipient of the Chavey Family Endowed Award in Dance for outstanding contributions to the dance program. In addition to her dance training at The School of American Ballet and Beloit College, Ms. Watkins has attended summer programs with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Orlando Ballet and BalletMet Columbus. She has been teaching and choreographing in Charleston since 2014.

This provides an inside look at the art of classical ballet. From the training and preparation of a dance artist through choreography and stagecraft, the viewer is given an intimate look at the power of this beautiful art form. Following a brief history of ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem, the performance begins with exercises at the barre and the reasoning behind them before quickly moving on to jumping, partnering, and lifts. Similarities between ballet Dance Artists and professional athletes are brought to light. Finally, to demonstrate the expressive power of ballet, excerpts from different styles of ballet are presented. Audience members are engaged with a Q&A segment or onstage interaction where possible. This lecture demonstration will include the Gaillard Center and IAAM newly commissioned piece on Hazel Scott.

Support for this program is made possible by generous donors who have committed time and resources to the Charleston Gaillard Center’s Dance Initiative.

Sounds of Hazel: The Hazel Scott Ballet is co-commissioned by Charleston Gaillard Center and the International African American Museum, Music Worcester, Seattle Theatre Group, and Washington Performing Arts, with residency support from Chautauqua Institution and the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College. 

This work is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Nutcracker performance features a full cast of Dance Conservatory of Charleston dancers ages 5-18. Performing is the essence of dance and a key part of the student-centered approach, and as such, DCC is thrilled to present a production in which a student dances every role.

The Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra musicians, under the direction of conductor Dr. Nisan Ak, are proud to collaborate with the Dance Conservatory of Charleston dancers in an all-student-led performance of Scenes from the Nutcracker. The Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestras annually showcases over 100 young musicians throughout the Lowcountry in grades 4-12. For more information about CSYO, please visit


A new theatrical production based on the Magic Tree House adventure Stage Fright on a Summer Night by The New York Times best-selling author Mary Pope Osborne.

No matter what the show must go on! That’s what Jack and Annie learn when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to Elizabethan England. There,​ the daring sibling duo​ meet​s​ William Shakespeare himself—one of the greatest writers of all time! ​Based on the critically-acclaimed book series by Mary Pope Osborne, this tuneful tale is a hip-hop hit with kids and grown-ups alike. ​

Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree  House series has been translated into 33 languages, has sold more than 135 million copies worldwide and is the No. 1 best-selling chapter book series of all time.

Produced by NJPAC in association with George Street Playhouse. Book and Lyrics by Jenny Laird and Will Osborne. Music and Additional Lyrics by Randy Courts. Based on “Magic Tree House: Stage Fright on a Summer Night” by Mary Pope Osborne

Return to Horace B. Smedley School where the Smedley Tornadoes have never won a football game. In fact, they have never even scored a single point! With such a poor record and a team that is out of control, kind-hearted Miss Nelson comes to the rescue when she enlists the help of her alter ego, the ill-tempered Miss Viola Swamp, to coach the team and whip them into shape.

Considered by all to be “the meanest substitute teacher in the whole world,” Coach Swamp applies her trademark discipline to the players’ training, demanding tough exercises and no back talk. In the end, the team changes their attitude, pulls together, sharpens their skills, and manages to win the biggest game of the year.

A fun-filled musical from the award-winning playwright/composer who brought you DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER & A FLY.

Book, Music & Lyrics by Joan Cushing. Based upon the book MISS NELSON HAS A FIELD DAY by Harry Allard and James Marshall Text copyright © 1985 by Harry Allard. Performed by arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company. All rights reserved. By special arrangements with Houghton Mifflin Company and Gurman Agency LLC. Produced by Dallas Children’s Theater from Dallas, Texas

Based on the books by Ezra Jack Keats
Adapted by Jerome Hairston
Produced by Childsplay
From Tempe, Arizona

Follow Peter and his friends through winter, spring, summer and fall as they romp and play, start snow ball fights and make snow angels, journey in space and under the sea, and more, all in this imaginative musical play. Using innovative shadow puppetry, THE SNOWY DAY celebrates the magic and boundless possibilities of childhood and the challenges of growing up.

Keats’ treasured characters come to life in this humorous and fun adaptation of the collected stories: “Whistle for Willie”, “Goggles!”, “A Letter to Amy”, and “The Snowy Day.” A classic since its publication in 1962 and winner of the Caldecott Medal, “The Snowy Day” was one of the first picture books for young people to feature an African American protagonist and is still beloved today.

Based on the Pigeon books by Mo Willems. Script by Mo Willems and Tom Warburton. Lyrics by Mo Willems. Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma. Directed by Jerry Whiddon. The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour is represented by Shaw Entertainment Group, LLC.

Whatever you do, don’t let The Pigeon star in his own musical production! Because it’s not easy being The Pigeon– you never get to do ANYTHING! But when the Bus Driver has a crisis that threatens to make her passengers (gasp!) late, maybe that wily bird CAN do something. Starring an innovative mix of actors, puppets, songs, and feathers, Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus! (The Musical) is sure to get everyone’s wings flapping. With a script written by Mo Willems, the creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling, Caldecott-honor award winning Pigeon picture books, along with longtime collaborator and Disney Jr’s Muppet Babies executive producer, Mr. Warburton, and featuring music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, the composer behind Elephant & Piggie’s We Are In A Play! and Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience, this comedic musical production is even more fun than staying up late and having a hot dog party!

We begin with Aesop’s classic fable of the Tortoise and the Hare but continue the story, which finds them ten years down the road, now with children of their own and exploring modern-day distractions.

Smartphones and video games create a new landscape of lost connections to life experiences. The Next Gen features Tortoise Junior and Lil’ Hare in a whole new kind of race; where their adventures lead them into unexpected territory. Old Man Tortoise and Big Daddy Hare must come together despite their differences to find and save their children. What hurdles will they have to overcome to make it to the finish line?

With dazzling visuals, poignant storytelling, and the creative use of music from classical to pop, this production brings this tale into a new brilliant light.

JABARI DREAMS OF FREEDOM is a play to save Black youth from living through fear. It tells the story of Jabari, a young Black boy from the South Side of Chicago who loves to paint. Through painting, he can escape the turbulent world around him. When police hurt a friend, Jabari is afraid to leave the house. With his Forever President Barack Obama as a guide, he dreams he meets children from the Civil Rights Era, including Ruby Bridges, Claudette Colvin, and a 7-year-old Barack Obama on the eve of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Can Jabari use the lessons he’s learned to instill in young Barack the ideas he’ll need to become president? Will Jabari take these lessons back into his life and heal his community? Using history, rap, freedom songs, and humor, this play explores what it means to have courage in a world where Black children—Black boys—are not safe.

“Jabari Dreams of Freedom” received its World Premiere Production at Chicago Children’s Theatre, April 2016

Jacqueline Russell, Artistic Director

“Jabari Dreams of Freedom” was developed as part of New Victory LabWorks at the New Victory Theatre in New York City.

The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour Presents

Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie Starring Indigo Blume

Find your voice in this feathery adventure.

Adapted from the books by Kwame Alexander

By Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

Music by Randy Preston

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

New York Times best-selling author KWAME ALEXANDER brings two of his beloved children’s books—Acoustic Rooster and Indigo Blume—to the stage in a world premiere Kennedy Center commission. Alexander teams up with his writing partner MARY RAND HESS and long-time musical collaborator RANDY PRESTON to tell a story about being scared, brave, and believing in yourself. With special guests like Duck Ellington and Ms. Dairy Parton—this musical adaptation will have children (and families) dancing in their seats.

Dive into a book to keep the fun going: Kwame’s NEW picture book of the same name is based on our musical!

Most enjoyed by 5+ Photo credit Jati Lindsay.

Our protagonist, Shirley Temple Wong, and her family moved from China to the United States in 1947, the year Jackie Robinson was breaking records and assumptions.

This play is adapted from the award-winning novel by Bette Bao Lord and was inspired by the author‘s own memories of immigrating to the United States. Our protagonist, Shirley Temple Wong, and her family moved from China to the United States in 1947, the year Jackie Robinson was breaking records and assumptions. Told through humor and a rich multi-media staging, the play celebrates the bravery and sacrifice of those who bring new perspectives to our country.

Based on the book by Bette Bao Lord

Adapted for the stage by Mark Branner

This project at the Charleston Gaillard Center was funded in part by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Program through their joint administration of the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant Program and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.

Todd Parr explores important and timely subjects with his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity. It’s Okay to Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and self-confidence. Equally whimsical and heartfelt, The Earth Book is a sweet homage to our beautiful planet, inspiring readers of all ages to do their part to keep the Earth happy and healthy. This is My Hair is a funny exploration of how silly hair can be and that no matter how your hair looks, always feel good about yourself.

Mermaid’s new show will be directed and adapted by Jim Morrow, veteran director of numerous internationally acclaimed productions. It will feature a diverse cast, an innovative approach to puppetry manipulation and construction, and playful original music for which the company has earned worldwide praise.

Todd Parr is the author and illustrator of more than 40 books for children. His books are available in over fifteen languages throughout the world. He is the co-creator of the three-time Emmy-Nominated children’s television show ToddWorld™ as well as short films for Sesame Street.

Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.   

Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the high-spirited Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo – is there?   

Songs, laughs and monstrous fun for children aged 3 and up and their grown-ups, in the much-loved show that’s toured Britain and the world!  

“The Gruffalo © Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler 1999 – Macmillan Children’s Books”

Photo Credit: © Tall Stories


Just Be You
 is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to build teens confidence through self-compassion. Through workshops, school assemblies and motivational speakers, Just Be You focuses on the daily challenges of life as a modern teen, offering them coping skills to become more resilient and confident in their individuality. The Just Be You team encourages and celebrates all levels of what it means to be bold, be brilliant, and just be you.

Journaling with Just Be You
When we journal we allow our brain to process what emotions we are feeling in the moment.

Typical journaling involves only writing—but for those who are more visually inclined, try art journaling! Just grab any art supplies you have and let your mind flow. It is all about expressing yourself and finding what works best for you. Get creative, let those emotions out, and just be YOU!

“I AM” Inspiration Collage
Start by collecting old magazines, gathering up your art supplies and thinking hard about who you are and who you want to be. Cut out pictures and images that represent characteristics and traits that can be used to describe you. Make sure you are not just focusing on the present you, make some of these words and images aspirational! Write “I AM” and get to work collaging. By creating a visual representation of your goals, you’re building a mental roadmap to reach your best self!

Positive Self-Talk

In the lesson, Karli explores one of the pillars of self-compassion: positive self-talk! Positive self-talk can help reduce stress, increase motivation, and improve overall mental and physical health.

Check out the power of our own words with the rice experiment below. We hope you will share your findings on social media using #justbeyou or tag @justbeyou_org and start putting your positive self-talk to practice!


From its creation, and still to this day, Jazz continues to evolve. It has produced timeless classics and some of the most famous musicians of all time. On October 1, 2019, join Gaillard Center Artist-in-Residence Emeritus, Charlton Singleton, along with his group of some of the most sought after musicians, as they take us through all of the unique styles of Jazz via explanation and musical performances

History of Jazz

Jazz and Music in South Carolina

Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Connection

Education and Life as a Musician

Prints in Clay is a multimedia, educational exploration into the many significant contributions of African Americans to the history and culture of the community. You can watch the full concert and view the photo exhibit in the videos below.

RANKY TANKY released their eponymous debut on Oct. 20th, 2017.  By December of that year, the group had been been profiled on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and their album soared to the #1 position on the Billboard, I-Tunes, and Amazon Jazz Charts.

“Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God.” “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” In this spirit this Charleston, SC based quintet performs timeless music of Gullah culture born in the southeastern Sea Island region of the United States. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, the musical roots of Charleston, SC are “rank” and fertile ground from which these contemporary artists are grateful to have grown.

The Charleston Jazz Orchestra in partnership with the Gaillard Center’s Education and Community Program present Jazz Day for Kids, featuring the Charleston Jazz Orchestra led by Robert Lewis and Charlton Singleton, Gaillard Center Artist-in-Residence Emeritus. Jazz Day for Kids is a big band concert designed for Kindergarten through middle school students.

The Charleston Symphony is proud to partner with the Charleston Gaillard Center and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute to present LINK UP: The Orchestra Sings! hosted by Thomas Cabaniss. 

In partnership with Carnegie Hall and the Gaillard Center, the Charleston Symphony presents Link Up: The Orchestra Sings, a music education program for students in grades 3-5 on March 30 & 31, 2023 at the Gaillard Center. The nearly 3,000 Lowcountry students participating in the Link Up program will have the opportunity to study the curriculum in their classrooms and then attend a highly engaging culminating concert where they sing and play recorders with the orchestra from their seats.

To participate in Link Up, Teachers are required to attend a professional development workshop exploring the Link Up Curriculum on Friday, September 30, 2022, at the Gaillard Center. All attending teachers will receive a complimentary ticket to the Charleston Symphony’s Masterworks concert after the workshop.

To explore the Link Up curriculum and resources, please visit:

Please contact Mitsuko Flynn, CSO Director of Education and Community Engagement, at with any questions.


Charleston, SC poet laureate and Gaillard Center Artist-in-Residence, Marcus Amaker will emphasize the power of the written word, while educating students on the importance of voice.

Learn about self-portrait, alliteration, and visual poetry with our Artist-In-Residence and SC Poet Laureate Marcus Amaker.


Stronger Together – A collective, creative response to Asian American hate by Honolulu Theatre for Youth

Our world is filled with humans being treated unjustly due to differences.  We see it in our schools and speak to our students regularly about being kind and “filling one another’s buckets”. The lesson below is one that will help start some of those difficult classroom conversations and hopefully assist you in finding the right words with a focus on educating our students about Asian American hate. Students will be able to gain a better understanding of Asian American hate, equality, acceptance for all, and steps to be an active bystander when others are treated unjustly. This lesson is for grades 1-4.

Adaptation with Environmental Anthropologist and Filmmaker, Alizé Carrére
In local partnership with South Carolina Aquarium

Explore the remarkable ways people worldwide adapt to our changing planet with environmental anthropologist and filmmaker Alizé Carrère. Dive into the South Pacific waters of Vanuatu, where islanders use innovative techniques to combat outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish that threaten the surrounding reefs. In Bangladesh, discover how farmers in low-lying areas are reviving an old agricultural technique—floating gardens—that has inspired other floating infrastructure, including schools, libraries, hospitals, and playgrounds. And travel to the mountainous desert of Ladakh in northern India to glimpse giant ice pyramids, or “ice stupas,” invented by a Ladakhi teacher and engineer to help the community preserve its scarce freshwater resources. Through her work documenting these stories, Carrère offers a hopeful look at humankind’s resilience, perseverance, and innovation under even the most difficult of conditions.

Secrets of The Whales with Underwater Photographer, Brian Skerry
In local partnership with South Carolina Aquarium

Dive deep into the groundbreaking science of whale families – and their startlingly human parallels – through the awe-inspiring work of celebrated National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry. Discover the extraordinary communication skills and intricate social structures among four different species of whales – from the international cuisines of orcas to families of beluga whales playing at their “summer resort” – and learn what these majestic creatures can teach us about ourselves and our planet.


Theatre Teacher with Teralyn Reiter

Teralyn earned her MFA­-Acting from the University of Montana. Teralyn’s passion for theatre education began with Missoula Children’s Theatre, where she and a tour partner traveled for four years throughout the United States and Europe teaching and performing full-scale musicals to children ages 5-18 each week. Since then, she’s worked with a variety of theatres including the American Conservatory Theatre and the Montana Repertory Theatre where she brought professional theatre and theatre education to schools and reservations. She worked for 15 months in Daegu, South Korea, where she developed and implemented a theatre program that teaches English in a fun, unconventional way to students ages 8-12. She continues growing as an educator and performer while working with East Cooper Montessori Charter School and performing on stages throughout Charleston. Her work in Charleston has earned the Charleston Theatre Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for her work in Shirley Valentine at Midtown Productions. As a Teaching Artist, Teralyn received a National Artist Fellowship from the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts.


2022 – 2023 Performances

2022 – 2023 Classes and Workshops

Summer Camps

About Our Education and Community Program

Our Impact

Our Supporters

Our Educators

Accessibility and Sensory Inclusion

COVID-19 Policies