Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

This year, Ballet Arkansas is pleased to present a series of specialized programming designed for children, which take place on the Saturday Matinee during Ballet Arkansas' Fall, Winter, and Spring shows. Launched in the Fall of 2017 with the beloved Peter and the Wolf, these children's ballets are interactive, educational, and paired with arts and crafts, live performance interaction, and meet and greets with the professional dancers in the cast.

For one afternoon only, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m., Ballet Arkansas is excited to present their second children's show of the year, a brand new ballet set to Benjamin Britten's popular The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.

This narrated and interactive production is an enjoyable experience for the whole family, and a fun way to introduce children of all ages to the joys of music education and the beauty of classical dance. With each dancer representing a different instrument and section of the orchestra, this ballet is a visual way for kids to understand the components of the orchestra. The audience gets to see the sound of music come to life, and watch a symphony being built before their eyes. 

While the performance begins at 2 p.m., Ballet Arkansas encourages you to come early to participate in a coloring contest, arts and crafts, face painting and other activities. After the show, the audience will get to meet the professional dancers of Ballet Arkansas and take photographs with the cast. A perfect length for younger audiences, The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra is approximately 25 minutes long, and the full experience rounds out to be about an hour, making this a wonderful treat for the Valentine's Day Weekend. Check out all the exciting upcoming events and performances, including Tour de Force, at Visit to purchase your tickets to The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra or Tour de Force, today.

Sat., Feb. 17, 2 p.m.
UA Pulaski Tech Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS Theater)
$20 Tickets



Helping Students with Disabilities Make Good College Choices

Julia Frost, M.S., NCSP, director of Jones Learning Center at the University of the Ozarks

Julia Frost, M.S., NCSP, director of Jones Learning Center at the University of the Ozarks

When high school students get ready to think about postsecondary options, some of them find an almost limitless field of undergraduate choices. These are the students with grades, test scores, and/or athletic ability that make them prime candidates for generous scholarships from a wide array of institutions. Other students may not have these accomplishments to qualify for such scholarships. Sometimes an even greater challenge can be adding a disability to this mix that could limit them even more in the search for their best postsecondary options. However, many of these students are quite capable of college success if they and their families choose the right college.

So, what are these students and their families to do?
Most importantly, begin planning early. This is a process, not a quick decision. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that an individualized transition plan be in effect by age 16. The plan should be regularly reviewed over the next few years to determine which goals are realistic for the student, what skills need to be mastered in order to reach these goals, and what accommodations or support services will be needed to reach those goals. Then, it will be necessary to find postsecondary options that provide this support.

Ensure that the student receives the same accommodations on the ACT or SAT that they receive on tests at school. Students with disabilities often cannot show colleges their potential through these high stakes tests if they are required to take them in exactly the same manner as all other students. However, in order to get these accommodations, there is paperwork to complete and guidelines to follow. The results, though, can be astounding. These scores can potentially open doors for them to colleges that might not have been open to them previously.

What resources can help parents transition their students successfully?
Websites of national organizations that specialize in the type of disability the young adult has are helpful by suggesting ways to navigate the transition process. Also, consider carefully a variety of schools with the type of support program that can provide the services the young adult will need, review their websites and talk to someone involved in each support program. Schedule visits with the schools, making sure that your child meets with another student who utilizes the support of that program to determine firsthand exactly how the program works. Encourage students to find the program that provides the support they need at a college they feel could be their home for several years. If this task appears too complex, reaching out to an independent educational consultant, a professional with training and expertise in this area, may be helpful.

Don’t big name schools offer better support?
In my work, I have seen many instances where parents or students themselves insisted that they attend the parents’ alma mater or a large university with athletic teams they loved without considering the academic support provided. These college experiences most often ended in failure, leaving the student with a deflated self-esteem and a low GPA, trying to determine the next step and doubting their ability to complete college. In actuality, this student may certainly have had the intellectual ability to attend and succeed in college if the right college choice had been made, a choice that provided the student with the academic support to help him/her learn and the tools to compensate for the disability. Without a doubt, taking the time to help students with disabilities make the right college choice can positively change their lives.

Jones Learning Center
The Jones Learning Center (JLC) at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville is one of those comprehensive, fee-based programs for students with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder or autism spectrum disorder that can positively change lives. Students come to the JLC from around the country to access the services that include a 1:5 staff to student ratio, daily coaching sessions with academic support coordinators, testing accommodations, class notes, individual peer tutoring for all classes, audio texts, text-to-speech and speech-to-text technology, and professional writing assistants. For many college students this is the right choice, and positive life changes happen. Visit for more information.

Provided by Julia Frost, M.S., NCSP
Director, Jones Learning Center
University of the Ozarks

Resources by disability:

Learning Disabilities Association of America
National Center for Learning Disabilities
 Understood (for learning and attention issues)
College Autism Spectrum
Autism Society of Los Angeles
United Cerebral Palsy
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Perkins Scout (for visual impairments)

Resources for all students with disabilities:
Transition planning

Kravets, Marybeth and Imy F. Wax, The K&W Guide to College for Students with Learning  Differences, 12th Edition. The Princeton Review, 2014. Print.

Independent Educational Consultants
HEATH Resource Center

Hearts & Hooves Volunteer Testimonial

Elaine Gimblet.JPG

I wanted to take a minute to let you know how much Hearts & Hooves means to me. I have been volunteering as a leader for almost 12 years, and it’s the most fun and rewarding thing I do all week! The riders are all delightful (most of the time!!), and I love being with them. Even though I do have a favorite horse, all the guys I work with are well-trained and sweet. The therapists are so inspiring to watch - never losing patience, and so skillful it’s hard to believe. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity, which makes my life rich and full!


Elaine Gimblet

To learn more about volunteering with Hearts & Hooves visit

Don't Miss "Land of the Sweets Nutcracker Tea"

Ballet Arkansas Nutcracker Tea

A new twist to the annual “Nutcracker Tea," this year Ballet Arkansas offers a memorable journey to the Land of the Sweets. Join the company ON STAGE at Robinson Performance Hall for a magical up close performance by the Sugar Plum Fairy & her many friends. Included in the ticket,  take photos with the cast of characters and enjoy delicious holiday tea and treats. The Sugar Plum Fairy herself, will read the Nutcracker story to all. Best of all, "Nutcracker Tea" guests get to “Make it Snow” on stage at the completion of the event.

Arrival : Please meet in the Lower Lobby at the Robinson Performance Hall no more than 15 minutes prior to the event. All ticket holders will be escorted to the stage by Ballet Arkansas  personnel at 4 p.m.. For guests of our Saturday Matinee performance, please head to the Lower Lobby following the 2 p.m. performance.

Tickets are $30; available on or at the Nutcracker Boutique. Visit to learn more!

Spanish Language Child Development Resources Now Available for Parents Across Arkansas

Better Beginnings Child Development Resource Library

Better Beginnings, Arkansas’s Quality Rating Improvement System through the Arkansas Department of Human Services, has made a library of Spanish-language resources available to Arkansas families. The library includes more than 20 individual resources with checklists for choosing childcare, developmental milestone trackers and activities that can be done at home to support early learning.  

“Research shows maximum brain development occurs during the first five years. Children need opportunities for quality learning as early as possible,” said Beverly Wright, program manager of child care licensing and Better Beginnings at the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

“Having these resources available to Spanish-speaking families in Arkansas will provide those parents with extra tools to nurture development at home.”

In addition to the Family Resource Library, Better Beginnings offers a Choosing Child Care Checklist to assist families with finding a high quality child care program. The checklist, which is made to use on a smart device while touring a child care facility, is available online. Better Beginnings also offers a database of child care providers, searchable by zip code on its website,, where families can also view the Better Beginnings Spanish Resource Library.


Recursos disponibles para el desarrollo de los niños ahora en español; para todos los padres a través de Arkansas

Mejores Inicios, Arkansas, el sistema de calificación de calidad y mejora a través del Departamento de Servicios Humanos de Arkansas, ha hecho una biblioteca de recursos en español que está disponible para las familias de Arkansas. La biblioteca incluye más de 20 recursos individuales con listas de comprobación para elegir guardería, rastreadores de señales de desarrollo y actividades que se pueden hacer en casa para apoyar el aprendizaje temprano.

"La investigación demuestra que el máximo desarrollo cerebral se produce durante los primeros cinco años. Los niños necesitan oportunidades para un aprendizaje de calidad tan pronto como sea posible," dijo Beverly Wright, director de programa de licencias para cuidado infantil y mejores inicios en el Departamento de Servicios Humanos de Arkansas.

"Tener estos recursos disponibles para familias de habla hispana en Arkansas proporcionará a los padres  herramientas adicionales para nutrir el desarrollo en casa."

Además de la biblioteca de recursos de la familia, Mejores Inicios ofrece una elección de lista de comprobación de cuidado infantil para ayudar a las familias a encontrar un programa de cuidado infantil de alta calidad. La lista, está hecha para utilizarse en un dispositivo inteligente mientras visita un establecimiento de cuidado de niños, y está disponible en línea. Mejores inicios también ofrece una base de datos de proveedores de cuidado de niños, Búsquela por código postal en su sitio web: donde las familias también pueden ver los mejores comienzos en la biblioteca de recursos en español.

Savvy Asks About Educating Child Actors in a Touring Show

Les Miserables comes to Robinson Center Nov. 29-Dec. 3. Savvy asked the touring show's tutor, Jess Balun, how the Les Miz kids make the grade.  


How many hours per day/week do students devote to school? We typically do 15 hours of school spread over a five-day period, usually four hours per weekday and one hour on a weekend day.  

How do you tackle hands-on activities like science projects or art while on the road? Science projects are the toughest because we are traveling every week and can't bring a lot of equipment. I look for experiments that have simple ingredients and will still allow students to engage with the scientific method. One of my favorites for them to do is soaking an egg in vinegar overnight.  

Are the kids able to work in groups together, or is it all on a one-on-one basis? The Les Miz kids are all in fourth or fifth grade, so we try to work together whenever possible. But, since they all come from different schools and follow different curriculum, there is a lot of one-on-one instruction.  

Do parents get report cards? Parents get a weekly report of the student's completed assignments and quarterly report cards.  

What is the biggest challenge elementary-aged students face? This type of schooling requires a lot more independence than many students are used to. One of my former students used to motivate herself to work independently by pretending she was in college. 

What's the biggest challenge high school-aged students face? Most of my students have been elementary of middle school-aged, but high school students have the added challenge of final or state exams and, of course, grades being on their transcripts for college.  

Are kids able to reintegrate back into traditional schools once the show is over or do most participate in home school? It's a mix. If the student continues to have a lot of auditions or booked jobs, many parents prefer the flexibility of home schooling. Others go back to their traditional school. One former student returned to school and said, "They waste so much time!"  

What happens if a student is not making good grades? I've been lucky to have very bright and conscientious students. Most of these kids have been in multiple shows and know how to manage their time and work hard. The kids really have one of the toughest schedules in the company. One huge benefit of the small class size is that when I see a student struggling with something I can work with them one-on-one before any assessments. 


See Works by Arkansas Children's Hospital Patients at Thea Foundation


Through the month of October, Thea Foundation will exhibit works by patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in our newly renovated gallery space located at 401 Main Street in North Little Rock, Arkansas. A reception will held from 5-8 p.m. Friday, October 19, during Argenta Art Walk. During the reception, Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s artists-in-residence will be present to share about the works and their program at the hospital.

Arkansas Children's has two artists-in-residence. Hamid Ebrahimifar and Elizabeth Weber are funded by an In-School-Residency (ISR) Grant from the Arkansas Arts Council and Child Life and Education donors. The ISR artists facilitate art projects that support the core curriculum, both in the classroom setting and at the bedside. Elizabeth and Hamid educate patients and families about the process of art, while at the same time teaching them that, despite an injury, illness, or disability, they can be successful at art. or call (501) 379-9512.

Becoming Gifted

By Dr. Christine Deitz


Today’s public schools do more than a respectable job of identifying children of advanced ability for gifted and talented programs and services. Gifted services are typically decided on a case-by-case basis, and on a child’s need for creative and critical learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom. In short, gifted children require special services and supported opportunities to fully develop their potential.

Beyond a Number

Traditional thought suggests giftedness begins with an IQ of 130. In the past, high IQ scores were an indication that a child required acceleration or enrichment options. Giftedness today is assessed differently—not by the speed at which blocks are rearranged into specific patterns, but by documenting the way children create and solve problems, and by the rate in which they master content. For adults, however, there is no committee of GT professionals to decide they have an advanced ability for baking, creating spreadsheets, or selling used cars.

We know talents and gifts develop over time. Is it possible to for adults to become gifted?

As adults mature and experience life, skills sharpen and attitudes deepen to the extent that individuals gain expertise in creative problem solving. As an adult, you may feel smarter, quicker and wiser than you did as an adolescent or young adult. Even decades after you have completed your formal education, your mental capabilities continue to grow. Perhaps you feel a heightened sense of awareness. Perhaps you are more funny or clever than you ever were as a teenager! What parent cannot re-engineer a jacket zipper or help a child produce a science fair project over night? Is it possible you are becoming gifted?

The answer is, “Yes!” Having a propensity to be truly good at something, a fascination in a particular area of interest, or a passionate focus on a topic is more than likely an indication of some advanced ability. As adults, we definitely benefit from having the time and opportunity to develop expertise in an area that may or may not be work related. As our mature selves, we also have more resources available that allow us to follow through with an area of interest. So, yes, you may be becoming gifted!

Growing Giftedness

How can adults develop their area of potential? Find a mentor and engage in projects with other adults who have sharper skills than you. Whether it is on the tennis court, at work or at the card table learn from someone who challenges you and helps you sharpen your edge. It is important to know that you do not have to be accomplished in everything in order to be gifted. People often excel in one particular area like math, writing, sports, communication or technology.

You may not have been identified as an advanced student in school, but as an adult, you can set your own agenda to develop your specific talents and abilities. I do not recommend online surveys or quizzes that indicate if you are gifted, smart or otherwise advanced. These surveys are designed for entertainment purposes and do not offer meaningful insight regarding your capabilities. Rather, trust yourself. Appreciate how you’ve grown and developed over the years. What are your passion areas? Are you a budding or accomplished artist, orator or people person? Recognizing your area(s) of strength(s) is a good indication of where your gifts and talents lie.

Daily Think Tasks

Because your brain behaves like a muscle, it requires lots of water and frequent exercise. Increasing an awareness of your daily creative and critical thinking time will grow those dendrites! I recommend the following:

  • Solve puzzles (crossword, Sudoku, logic, etc.)
  • Practice your passion
  • Discover how something works
  • Learn something new (many universities offer courses online!)
  • Ask “what” and “how” questions; figure out the “why”
  • Create something
  • Fix something
  • Improve something
  • Read for pleasure and for information
  • When faced with a problem, create more than one solution
  • And… Be forever curious

I hope you will continue to think about your potential and your giftedness. Advanced and talented individuals play an incredibly critical role in today’s society. Please continue your exploration of gifted issues by visiting these awesome resources:

For a better understanding of the traits of giftedness in individuals, visit
Dr. Howard Gardner explained the concept of Multiple Intelligences.

There are many books and resources available on this topic. I think this is a good starting point to learn about MI. Go to:
Let your gifted voice be heard! Join your state and school advocacy group for gifted children. Go to: Membership includes quarterly newsletters.

Authors’ Note:
Christine Deitz, Ed.D. is the Associate Director of the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Prior to this position, she was the specialist for gifted secondary programs for the Little Rock School District and a consultant for College Board in social sciences. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, author, speaker, consultant and gifted child advocate. She has received numerous recognitions from the National Association for Gifted Children and is a regular presenter at state and national conferences on curriculum, teacher effectiveness, and needs of gifted children. Email Christine at