A girl holds a handmade puppet in VSA VT's arts and literacy program at the Integrated Arts Academy.

A girl in a striped shirt and a headband stands with the carefully dressed and decorated puppet she made in VSA VT’s arts and literacy program at the Integrated Arts Academy.

VSA Vermont (VSA VT) presents arts activities in a variety of artistic genres for children in and after school. Partnering with service agencies and schools, VSA VT delivers activities designed to help children and parents develop confidence in self-expression and positive group interaction, and can be integrated into specific core curriculum or other goals.

To bring VSA VT inclusive arts education to your school or organization, contact us.

In school and after-school arts programs are proven to increase student academic achievement.

Students who participate in the arts are:

  • Four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
  • Four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
  • Three times more likely to win an award for school attendance
  • Three times more likely to be elected to class office within their school

While it is proven that students in arts-rich programs outperform students in arts-poor programs in every measure of academic performance, participation in arts programs makes more of a difference in the performance of low-income students than it does in high income students. [Source: Arts Education Partnership, Champions of Change, The Impact of Arts on Learning, Humanities (PDF Report)]

A group of brightly colored puppets.

More than a dozen hand sculpted human and animal puppets with brilliant detail of buttons, pants and shirts in red, green, orange and brown with endearing cockeyed eyes and great noses made by New American students at H.O. Wheeler using puppets to write plays.

Recent Examples

Recent examples include: VSA VT’s inclusive arts education for students at HowardCenter’s Baird School, where students who may not have had past experiences of success in classroom settings are engaged in learning through the arts; VSA VT’s inclusive arts-based literacy project at Burlington’s Integrated Arts Academy for the most recently arrived New American students who develop language and literacy skills through the use of both live puppetry and the creation of e-books; and VSA VT’s arts-based literacy project in the Afterschool programs of the Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union where students use poetry writing, weaving, comic book making and more to boost literacy skills.

“My favorite class was when we used English and words from our first language. I felt proud to teach new words to my teacher.”

After School Poetry

VSA VT’s after school poetry program for New American children in grades K-12 at five schools in Chittenden and Washington counties engaged refugee children in the playful use of language to examine their new environment and reach back through their lives, calling all their experience to new language. Our teaching poets supported a diverse range of students, including those with disabilities and those learning English. Using engaging, accessible literature, each lesson presented challenges that relate to children’s lives, from imaginary journeys inside a stone to personal explorations of dream and memory. The poetry program also empowered students to share their work with the community through readings, displays, and opportunities for print and online publication.

“English language learners are under an extreme amount of pressure during the school day; the poetry program gives these students an opportunity to understand the world around them in a non-threatening and interesting way. The students are engaged in a fun and enriching way that makes them look forward to coming every week.”
Karen Persons, After School Program Coordinator, H.O. Wheeler School

A little girl with a hand-decorated blower.

On a sunny day at Ethan Allen Homestead gardens, a little girl dressed head to toe in traditional African aqua and gold wrap, concentrates as she blows out the “nose” on a pink bug with green, blue and pink wings and pink antennae that she has created in VSA VT’s K-8 program using the arts to learn about her Vermont environment.


I’m dreaming about my family.
Our food smells sweet and we’re sharing
bowls of soup. We eat together every night.
I hear soft talking.
I hear dishes being washed.
Outside the wind is whistling.
Our hearts are filled with shining light.

-Asho (Grade 5)
Last night the moon was talking to me.
Yesterday my hand was singing.
Last night when I was reading I went into the book and saw the wolf and seven kids.
Last night the bathroom was saying to me, “Beauty, you’re so cute, my darling.”
Last night my blanket took me into the sky, and we saw God.
-Safia (Grade 4)


This program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

This program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“I don’t think I would have perceived the depth of my student’s understanding of concepts in the past. I feel like a whole different teacher. It freed me up to have more fun in my job. Once each child is learning or expressing knowledge in a way that works for them, your classroom management as a teacher is done for you. Engagement!”
Third grade elementary school teacher

Program Cost

VSA VT arts education for children is offered at no cost to program participants. Organizations wishing to bring VSA VT classes to people receiving their services pay a fee to VSA VT to present the program at their site. For more information on fee structures, contact us.

Find Funds for VSA VT Education Programs

Learn more about how organizations can find funds for VSA VT education programs.


Over the past two years, our K-8 Arts Education programs has been supported by: