2022 Grants Challenge

Preparing Preschoolers To Succeed In Tomorrow’s Workforce

Dream A World Education will produce 24 new digital episodes of Secrets of the Heart® TV (SOTH TV) for children ages 2-4. The Pre-Kindergarten program, in English and Spanish, will anchor a 3-part sequential arts-based social justice learning curriculum. Series I and II for ages 4-8 are currently used in LA County schools. A 15-minute episode features American Sign Language and a “secret” delivered through an interactive art form. Secrets like fairness and honesty promote literacy, relationship-building and self-awareness through the arts.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

All pre-school age children, especially underserved Dual-Language Learners in Title I schools, need access to high quality school enrichment programs.Through arts, children ages 2-4 develop resilience, confidence, problem-solving skills, self-awareness and empathy, and gain tools to build a successful future. We will partner with preschools in LA County to ensure full access to the arts for all eligible children. From The Public Policy Institute of CA “In hopes of leveling the playing field…, California will expand Transitional Kindergarten to all four-year olds by fall 2025.Kindergarten students in CA have some of the largest gaps in school readiness in the country—and greater access to high-quality early learning is a proven way to reduce these disparities. There are also long-term benefits: preschool graduates…experience increased rates of… graduation and college enrollment, higher earnings, lower welfare use, and less contact with the criminal justice system than their peers.”

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Secrets of the Heart for Pre-K digital series will follow the production processes and timelines that have efficiently delivered SOTH TV Series I & II for children ages 4-8. Pre-filming activities include developing age-appropriate content in English and Spanish, re-hiring a diverse team of Teaching Artists representing multiple arts disciplines; re-engaging native Spanish-speaking artists for dubbing; and re-securing animator, editor, cinematographer and sound support-our team! Rehearsals, filming 24 episodes & final editing will result in Pre-K English/Spanish digital curriculum launch in September/October 2023. DAWE consults advisors, education experts and trusted educators from partner schools and beyond. Secrets of the Heart® Pre-K will align with California Preschool Learning Foundations, California and National Arts Standards, the Southern Poverty Law Center guidelines for social justice learning and the CASEL framework, teaching self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. SOTH TV Pre-K will offer high quality arts, music, story and song while children explore who they are. Multi-generational projects will promote engagement with family and relationship-building. Episodes will follow a familiar interactive pattern in which Teaching Artists greet students, announce the “secret” of the day in English (or Spanish) and demonstrate the secret in American Sign Language and teach an art form.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

In the short term we will build the Pre-K program and prepare it for use in the 2023-24 school year. The immediate impact upon launch will provide a tool for teachers that gives our youngest learners a path to wellness - learning arts, self-awareness, identity and the ability to express their feelings in words. Building arts-based social-emotional programming into learning positively impacts children’s academic progress and workforce readiness. 100% of teachers using the Secrets of the Heart program for Kindergarten and 1st grade report their students cultivated a greater appreciation of culture and diversity. In the long term, early education that promotes taking pride in oneself and teaches respect for other cultures will result in a new generation where our citizens feel connected to one another and more comfortable with who they are and why they are here. This project drastically reduces the cost of enrichment for underserved communities and more children will be served in LA.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Because DAWE students are too young to respond to evaluation questions, progress is measured by surveying classroom teachers. In the most recent surveys of Series I and II, participating teachers reported positive results from children participating. “They are more inclusive, accepting, and understanding of others' differences and experiences through stories, art, songs, and realia. SOTH TV piques their interest to learn! It also gives the teacher, if they are not comfortable or experienced, a safe place to teach the arts with easy to use tools and resources.” Teacher survey results: 100% Report SOTH TV cultivated a greater appreciation of culture and diversity. 100% Agree students can understand and display concepts (secrets) 89.4% Report students know the ASL signs for the secrets. 100% Agree students are engaged and excited about SOTH TV 94.7% Report students have a stronger understanding, connection and engagement to the arts after SOTH TV

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 1,300

Indirect Impact: 14,000