COCAedu’s arts classes and residencies provide customized, multidisciplinary arts enrichment programs.

Our education staff and teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to plan school day residencies and after school classes in dance, digital media, literary arts, theatre, music and visual arts.

COCA’s school day residencies and after school classes extend learning beyond the school day, supporting and enhancing classroom curriculum. These arts learning opportunities are available throughout the St. Louis metro area.

School Day Residencies After School Classes


Arts Learning School Day Residencies

COCA teaching artists come into the school and teach arts learning residencies classes to students in an 8- to 10-week residency format. Most of our school day residencies include a visit to COCA’s Millstone Gallery or Founders’ Theatre for an exhibition or live performance.

COCA offers school day residencies in the following areas:

Residencies offered in choreography, contemporary, creative movement, hip-hop, jazz, modern, West African

Dancing a Peaceful World
The residency uses dance technique and creative movement to help students develop and improve their skills in peaceful interaction. Inspired by the story of Sadako and the 1000 Cranes, and by the behavioral patterns of actual cranes the students will use creative movement and dance skills drawn from modern dance, ballet, and jazz/hip hop to create their own choreography as part of a larger dance based on Sadako’s story.

Digital Media
Residencies offered in film and video, photography, stop motion animation

Digital Video Production (Grades 5-12)
Students brainstorm, write, produce, shoot, and edit their own video project while learning about camera operation, shooting angles and techniques, lighting, editing, animation and special effects. The final project, which may be either narrative or documentary format, will debut at a school assembly or parent event.

Theatre/Literary Arts
Residencies offered in creative drama, acting, creative writing, improvisation, musical theatre, playwriting, poetry, storytelling

Storytelling and Literacy through the Arts
Featuring award winning storyteller and author-educator, Lynn Rubright and acclaimed drama-music specialist, Diane Davenport, this residency presents Ms. Rubright’s book, Mama’s Window for grades 4-7. These master teachers vibrantly demonstrate how classroom teachers can bring existing curriculum to life across many disciplines. With teacher planning and input, this residency blends language arts (reader’s theatre, improvisation, creative writing), social studies (regional history, geography, and character education (emphasizing compassion, empathy, conflict resolution), with science (study of swamp life). Literacy skills are also enhanced through movement and music (singing and song writing) activities.

Residencies offered in singing, songwriting, African percussion

African Rhythms
Students participate in a hands-on exploration of the different instruments in the drum orchestra. Playing hand drums, stick drums and a variety of small percussion instruments, they learn traditional rhythms of West Africa. As they work with the music and rhythms students discover the culture and countries the music comes from and even try out the language.

Visual Arts
Residencies offered in anime and manga, comic books, collage, drawing, fiber arts/textiles, mosaic, murals, painting, printmaking, sculpture

The Young Illustrator
Students learn how words and images interrelate in an illustrated book. The process starts with descriptive writing, then shows students how an illustrator decides which elements to enhance, create context or tell entirely in pictures. Varied styles of illustration are examined, from pencil drawings to collage, and students decide which to use as they create a fully illustrated book of their own.

Arts Learning After School Programming

COCA teaching artists visit schools after the close of the day and teach arts learning residencies classes to students in an 8- to 10-week residency format.

COCA offers the following after school classes:

Dance and Creative Movement

Broadway Stars (Ages 4-K)
Every star on Broadway started somewhere. Students will dance to music from some of Broadway’s most beloved musicals, like Annie and The Lion King.

Hip Tots (Ages 4-K)
Energetic young students will love to move to hip beats and music while developing motor skills and focusing on creative expression. Children will channel their energy while learning counting, musicality, rhythm and developing movement control.

Dance Around the World (Ages 4-K)
Children will be encouraged to move actively – to hop and slide, spin and stomp to a variety of lively musical styles from around the world. Kids will by inspired by world music as they explore such basic movement concepts as space, shape, time and rhythm.

Movement Safari (Ages 4-K)
If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Take a trip through the animal kingdom in movement and song. Young explorers will hop, creep, lumber and gallop, even create characters and stories with animal heroes and villains! Class culminates with a sharing of what kids have learned.

Story Ballet (Ages 4-K)
This course is designed to develop foundational dance movement skills in an imaginative setting. It introduces children to concepts such as rhythm, patterns, and exploratory dance composition as well as developmentally appropriate locomotor skills.

Jazz Dance (Grades 1-3, Grades 4 and up)
Jazz dance is immediately accessible, and an ideal way for new students to explore the world of dance and movement. Jazz incorporates high-energy Broadway musical dance styles and contemporary pop dance styles, and stresses flexibility, strength and alignment.

Move It (Grades 1-3)
This class offers an introduction to jazz, modern creative movement and hip-hop. Students will learn about the relationships between these three styles of movement and show what they’ve learned for the final day of class.

Musical Theatre Dance I (Grades 1-4)
In this fun and energetic class, students will focus on well-known musicals. They will dance to songs from some of the most beloved children’s musicals which may include The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Lion King and Annie.

Step Into Dance (Grades 1-3)
A great introduction into the world of dance styles, which may include jazz, modern, swing dance, hip-hop and more. Students will gain knowledge, techniques and the vocabulary of dance while having fun moving.

Dance Exploration (Grades 4 and up)
Students learn techniques of multiple dance styles and the connections between them. These may include jazz, hip-hop, modern or swing dance. Students will gain knowledge, techniques and the vocabulary of dance while having fun moving.

Hip-Hop (Grades 3 and up)
COCA’s hip-hop classes are designed to provide a comprehensive experience surrounding the technique, culture and progression of hip-hop. Students learn the latest cutting-edge moves while building technical proficiency.

Musical Theatre Dance II (Grades 5 and up)
Ready to audition for the middle or high school musical? Students will experience the exciting world of Broadway dance while sharpening audition and performance skills. They will expand their musical theatre dance vocabulary in order to successfully prepare for a career on the stage.

Swing Dance (Grades 3-5, Grades 6 and up)
Students learn the basics of swing dance as they develop discipline, coordination, strength and flexibility. Each class will start with a warm up and progress with combinations and movements across the floor. Students will be exposed to the historical and cultural elements that contributed to the formation of this style of dance.

West African Dance (Grades 1-3, Grades 4 and up)
Experience the joy of movement and learn about the cultures of West Africa in this dynamic class. Students will be introduced to high-energy dances rooted in African life and legend.

Theatre and Music

I’ve Got Rhythm (Ages 4-K)
Students will explore movement, music and performance in this class. We will dance, sing and play rhythm instruments while developing stories to show family and friends.

Magic Trunk (Ages 4-K)
Open the magic trunk and let your imagination soar! Perhaps one day we’ll discover a pirate’s costume or fantastic sunken treasure; another day, perhaps fairy dust and jewels. Whatever we find, students will move, sing and act their way through classic children’s tales. Come join us to find out what the magic trunk contains.

Play A Story (Ages 4-K)
Each class students will listen to a classic folk or fairy tale and create their own version through creative drama, movement and song. On the final day of class, parents are invited to share one of the students’ favorite stories.

Seuss on the Loose (Ages 4-K)
Children explore the “wiggled roads” and “weird wildish space” of Dr. Seuss in the class all about possibilities. Each class they will engage in creative movement and pretend play as they inhabit fantastical characters like the Cat in the Hat and Horton the Elephant.

Space Odyssey (Ages 4-K)
Kids will explore the galaxy in Space Shuttle Imagination, taking a walk on the moon and experiencing zero gravity, creating alien and astronaut characters and stories to infinity and beyond!

Under The Sea (Ages 4-K)
Students explore the marvels of the ocean – both real and imaginary. Through drama and movement, they will create a world of starfish, imaginative sea creatures and other watery wonders. Perhaps they’ll even meet a favorite mermaid there. Dive in!

Curtain Up! (Grades 1-3)
Budding actors will learn to use the body and voice to create characters under the guidance of a COCA theatre instructor. Using improvisation, dramatic play, story enactment, theatre games and imaginative journeys, students will develop confidence as they discover the joy of theatre.

Gleeful (Grades 1-3, Grades 4 and up)
Learn songs from some of Broadway’s best loved musicals as well as kid-friendly pop numbers! Students will be encouraged to develop their vocal performance technique, then add some “choir style” movement and show what they’ve learned on the last day of class.

Lullaby of Broadway (Grades 1-3)
Young performers will learn about the stories, characters and songs of classic Broadway shows. They will develop basic skills in acting, singing and stage movement as they explore the world of musical theatre. Family and friends are invited on the final day for class observation.

Music Matters (Grades 1-3, Grades 4 & up)
Students will develop vocal projection and proper breathing through song while they develop stage presence through creative movement. On the final class day, students perform a medley of songs.

Topsy Turvy Tales (Grades 1-3)
What would happen if Dorothy met the Three Little Pigs along the Yellow Brick Road? What if Cinderella didn’t like to dance? Children will take a traditional story then give it a twist. Students will make props and act out their own topsy turvy tales.

African Rhythms (Grades 3 and up)
Students participate in a hands-on exploration of the different instruments in the drum orchestra. Playing hand drums, stick drums and a variety of small percussion instruments, they learn traditional rhythms of West Africa. As they work with the music and rhythms they discover the culture and countries the music comes from and even try out the language.

Broadway Bound (Grades 3 and up)
Develop skills in acting, singing and stage movement as you explore the world of musical theatre. Students will develop vocal projection and proper breathing through song while they develop stage presence through creative movement.

Drama Express (Grades 3 and up)
In this introduction to stage acting, students will play theatre games; learn about theatrical improvisation, and how to use their bodies and voices to create both comic and dramatic characters of all kinds. The class explores acting terms and all the “dos and don’ts” of professional theatre.

Speak the Speech (Grades 7 and up)
Students will learn and enjoy how to use clear and effective speech to boost their communication skills and self-confidence. The class is designed to help students discover special techniques and vocal exercises to improve the speaking voice, while exploring stage presence, creative script writing, public service announcements and panel discussion skills.

Yearlong Theatre Production Program (Grades 4 and up)
COCA has a limited number of openings each year for these theatre production classes. First semester is dedicated to learning basic elements of the craft of acting through improvisation, character and movement study, and voice technique. Second semester focuses on the rehearsal process, culminating in a fully staged production in spring for families, fellow students and friends.

Visual Art

Sculpture Safari (Grades 1-3)
It’s time to explore the animal kingdom through a variety of sculpture media. Students will use clay, wood, even handmade paper to create three-dimensional creatures of all kinds. This class will emphasize construction and shape recognition and help students to link physical skills with their imagination. Interest in an art adventure is a must; no passport is necessary.

Meet the Masters (Grades 1-3)
What made Calder click? What got Van Gogh going? Students will enter the world of the masters and then, using drawing, painting and sculpture, create their own “masterworks.” Each week, children will be exposed to a new artist. Move over, Monet!

Shutterbug (Grades 1-3)
Students will experiment with the basics of photography, while using a variety of conventional and unconventional cameras and techniques. They will learn how to use composition, light and shadow, as well as point of view to communicate their ideas. Students will photograph the school community and the world around them.

The Young Illustrator (Grades 1-3)
Young illustrators will experience popular children’s tales by authors like Maurice Sendak, Lane Smith and Eric Carle. They will then learn techniques to develop their own creative ideas in watercolor, tempera, collage and chalk illustrations.

Art Stew (Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6)
Students will explore drawing, painting and printmaking for a class filled with fun and variety. Inspired by stories, nature and music, students will explore color, learn to use line expressively and create works using traditional and non-traditional art materials.

Crafting Mosaics (Grades 3-5, Grades 6-12)
Students will learn the art and craft of mosaics as they make beautifully decorated objects, like picture frames, boxes for treasures, bird houses and many other works of art using ancient techniques and materials like glass, stone, tile and more.

Drawing From Life (Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6)
Students in this class will develop their ability to draw images from the world around them. Through a variety of challenging and fun assignments, students will explore contour, line, positive and negative space, perspective, proportion and shading.

The Book & Beyond (Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6)
In this class students learn to create a variety of book forms – accordion books, box books, pop-up books – and learn different binding techniques. The process integrates focus on drawing skills and work in collage with creative writing, as students explore new and unique ways to combine words and images.

Creating Comics (Grades 3-5, Grades 6-12)
Don’t just read the comics, draw your own! This class is for students who want to develop their ability to draw characters and scenes that tell a story. Learn how to create a storyboard and find the right words to complement your visuals. Students also explore what makes some of their favorite cartoonists so good.

Exploring Printmaking (Grades 3-5, Grades 6-12)
Students will develop skills in creating sculpture and learn about contemporary art. Students will explore a wide variety of materials, including clay, paper and found objects to create unique works based on personal imagery and ideas.

In Living Color (Grades 3-5, Grades 6-12)
This program is for students who want to explore and develop their painting skills. Composition and color theory will be stressed and students encounter great artists throughout history as they create works in watercolor, acrylics and pastels.

Sculpture Studio (Grades 3-5, Grades 6-12)
Students will create original works in a variety of three-dimensional media. Artists will practice techniques for working with wire, clay, paper, found objects and natural materials to create miniature, life-size and large-scale sculpture.

Mural Making (Grades 4 and up)
Students will be encouraged to draw on their personal experiences, culture, and knowledge as a source of inspiration for creative expression as they create a piece of public art to be permanently installed in their school.

Photography (Grades 4 and up)
Students learn the basics of photography, experimenting with a variety of conventional and unconventional cameras and techniques, as well as learn how to use composition, light, shadow and point of view to communicate their ideas.