Wolf Trap Foundation is best known for the arts and music programming it provides at the only national park dedicated to the performing arts. Behind the scenes, the Foundation – through the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts – has cultivated an early learning program that engages students and teachers in joyful, active learning and prepares young children for success in school and life. Through affiliates in more than 30 states, Wolf Trap offers a unique program where artists collaborate with early childhood educators to integrate arts experiences into everyday classroom learning activities.
Since 2015, Hager Sharp has helped Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts tell its story and expand its reach to new audiences. With strategic planning, digital engagement, and materials development as our tools, we are helping Wolf Trap Institute advance high-quality early childhood education, arts integration, and professional development for educators.
Wolf Trap Institute has earned high esteem from partners and participants based on 35 years of experience and several evaluations of its unique model. Yet it needed to increase awareness of its work beyond its network of affiliates and supporters. To have a broader impact, Wolf Trap Institute wanted to expand its communications efforts and amplify the value of the arts as a learning tool with policymakers, school administrators, and educators.
Hager Sharp conducted a thorough environmental scan and in-depth interviews with partners, participants, and thought leaders to learn what drives stakeholder engagement and understand factors that influence the program’s ability to share its expertise. We used the findings to develop a comprehensive communications plan with tactics including message development, creative materials, and digital engagement. As the first step, we developed a multifaceted message map to articulate Wolf Trap Institute’s approach, impact, and leadership and collaboratively developed materials based on those messages to anchor the program’s outreach efforts.
Joyful, active learning for children. Collaborative, hands-on training for educators in the classroom. Wolf Trap Institute is a model for evidence-based arts-integrated learning and high-quality professional development. Warmth and collegiality are hallmarks of Wolf Trap Institute’s approach to early childhood education. It uses music to teach counting, drama to develop empathy, and dance to demonstrate scientific principles. And it’s fun!
Filmed on location in participating classrooms, this brand essence video to captures that spirit for Wolf Trap Institute. What do you hear? A voiceover that articulates the program’s evidenced-based approach, reach, and impact. What do you see? Teachers and children singing, dancing, and role-playing while also engaging in academic, social, and emotional learning. What do you learn? Wolf Trap Institute provides effective opportunities for joyful, active learning for young children and their teachers.
Wolf Trap Institute provides arts-integrated learning for children and educators across the nation and in several countries around the world, their programs engage children from birth through kindergarten, and their research is often conducted via grants from the U.S. Department of Education. They are educators with a passion for sharing their knowledge.
To improve Wolf Trap Institute’s ability to share that expertise online, Hager Sharp conducted a thorough review of the program’s web pages, their usability, and their search visibility as well as an analysis of traffic on Google for keywords related to early childhood education and arts integration. Based on our findings, we worked with Wolf Trap to revise the navigation structure for Wolf Trap Institute webpages and improve their accessibility. We also developed new content for each of the pages to clearly and concisely describe Institute’s programs and expertise while simultaneously integrating keywords and new meta descriptions to improve search engine optimization. The revised webpages speak to the needs and interests of educators and program administrators, are visually appealing, and most importantly, have improved Wolf Trap Institute’s search position and online visibility.
The conversation about what works in education is regularly and increasingly happening online, particularly on Twitter. Consistent digital engagement for Wolf Trap Institute staff was a challenge, though, as their time was committed to ensuring high-quality programs from coast to coast and pursuing opportunities to share their knowledge on the national conference circuit. With limited activity in the social media sphere, Wolf Trap Institute was missing important opportunities to build awareness about its programs and thought leadership.
Hager Sharp developed a social media strategy which focused on establishing a Twitter handle for Wolf Trap Institute as a program itself and optimizing content to improve reach among policymakers, educators, thought leaders, and program directors and administrators. The goal was to develop a deeper understanding of Wolf Trap Institute’s programs and knowledge among those audiences, and build an engaged online community. Recognizing the capacity challenges of maintaining a social media presence, we developed content planners and community management tools and crafted a collaborative approach for implementation. Wolf Trap launched its Twitter handle in fall 2018 and we are their day-to-day partners for building and sustaining an active digital presence.