Teaching Artist in classroom interacting with students
Teaching Artist in classroom interacting with students
performers in classroom doing opera
Opera Tots!

Grade Level: PreK – 1st Grade
4 in-classroom sessions
1 mini opera performance
1 family performance (optional)
Session Length: 30 minutes

* ONLY Virtual Classroom Sessions are available at this time.

“An opera is a story and all the words are sung!”

This little song is an anchor of our program Opera Tots! where we create opportunities for children, teachers, parents and caregivers to explore opera; using its great singing and storytelling features to attain tools for learning. The Opera Tots! program invites pre-K to 1st grade children to actively participate in learning new vocabulary, melodies, dances, rhythms, characters, and story elements based on the upcoming Opera in the Neighborhood Production.

Residency Workshops: This residency includes three 30-40 minute classroom workshops with our Resident Teaching Artists and one assembly-style workshop or short performance that takes children on a journey through the opera story with singing, dancing and dramatic play. All workshops reinforce school-readiness skills in alignment with PA Early Learning Standards, including retelling story events, development of vocabulary, and social/emotional interaction.

Professional Development for Teachers: We recognize music and art as vital tools for young learners. Providing educators with tools and techniques for using singing and dramatic play are just some of the  benefits that continue after the program is over.  Participating teachers at each Opera Tots! school site will receive a 60-minute professional development seminar before workshops begin and a 30-minute professional development seminar following the conclusion of the final workshop and performance.

Engaging the Whole Family: Each child receives a take-home materials we produce that encourages exploration of the workshops at home. Children are encouraged to teach their parents and caregivers songs and dances from the opera.

Final Performance: Schools are then encouraged to engage families by inviting them to a free, fully staged, age-appropriate performance of the opera. Children may join in the performance and following the show, children may stay to create craft projects related to the show’s theme and meet the singers.


The cost varies per school based on number of classrooms and number of children.

IN CLASSROOM WORKSHOPS (*Currently unavailable at this time)

  • $300 + $50 per classroom
  • MP3 downloads + Take Home Kits $5 per child


  • $100 + $25 per classroom
  • MP3 downloads + Take Home Kits $5 per child
★ This program is provided at NO COST for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
  • Develop new tools for learning in young children by using elements of singing, music, dance and dramatic play.
  • Promote early literacy, comprehension and conversation by focusing on new vocabulary words and meanings.
  • Support teachers in expanding the role of art and creativity in their academic curriculum and goals for students
  • Create pathways that encourage families to bolster the tools their children are learning in the classroom with activities and conversations woven into everyday routines.
Time Commitments
  • Teachers will work with a Teaching Artist to determine workshop/meeting dates and times that best align with school calendar, classroom schedule, curricular goals and the teaching artists availability.
  • All participating teachers are required to attend a 60-minute training and information session prior to classroom residencies, and a follow-up 30-minute session proceeding the final workshop. During these session, teachers become familiar with the company, Teaching Artist, program goals and curriculum. Teachers will also receive a packet of extension activities to build on the content between classroom visits as well as evaluation forms of the residency experience.
  • Each classroom workshop requires a maximum of 40 minutes of class time (less for toddler classes).
  • We prefer to have multiple classes within a school participate and that workshops be scheduled “back to back” if possible (e.g., Class A at 10am, Class B at 10:30am, etc.)
  • The 4th workshop is a performance of the opera for the children to enjoy and engage. This is an opportunity for all participating classrooms as well as any family members that are able to attend to come together and enjoy the opera. We will need access to a larger space that can accommodate the combined classrooms (e.g., auditorium, gym, cafeteria.)
  • Teachers, parents and caregivers will be invited to attend the year-end Family Performance of the opera. This performance will include a full cast with live music, set and costumes followed by fun activities, games and snacks for all to enjoy.
Partnership Commitments
  • School assigns one staff member or teacher to serve as point of contact for all participating classes and teachers. This person will be responsible for communicating schedule changes, distribute materials to classrooms, distribute evaluation forms, and provide feedback on the program.
  • Teachers approach sessions as an active, engaged participant and maintain classroom discipline.
  • Teachers communicate with the teaching artists regarding lesson plans, student progress or challenges, etc.
  • Teachers distribute all necessary materials for the program (provided by PFO Teaching Artist) including: workshop take home sheets, parent/caregiver feedback cards, and activity kits, fliers, etc.
  • Teacher & teaching artist collaborate to tailor the program to address desired curriculum goals and special needs of the classroom.
  • Pittsburgh Festival Opera provides ongoing support for classroom teachers and Teaching Artists in all aspects of the partnership.
  • Pittsburgh Festival Opera provides all materials and training for classroom teachers and teaching artists to successfully complete the program.
  • Jan 11th: Registration opens
  • January – February: Teacher Training and Info Session
  • February – May: Classroom Workshops Begin
  • May: Additional Performance of Opera in the Neighborhood Production

Applicants need the following information to complete the online application:

  • School, teacher and arts liaison contact information
  • Principal contact information and consent to apply
  • Number of eligible classrooms and approximate number of children per class
  • Suggested timeframe for when it may be best to implement the program

Registration Form

Student & Parent Portal

Educator Portal

Teaching Artist Portal

To request portal access, additional questions or support please contact:

Seamus Ricci
Director of Education