Affiliate director, Kansas Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts
Muci’s new job at Kansas Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts ties in with the work she was already doing as program director for Arts Partners.
The latter organization brings all kind of arts into classrooms from pre-K through 12th grade. Kansas Wolf Trap focuses only on the performing arts, for children ages 1 to 5.
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“We provide programming for early childhood teachers who are looking to integrate arts into early childhood education,” she said.
Teaching artists from Wolf Trap meet with early childhood teachers, discuss their goals and come up with ways to use the arts in conjunction with lessons in subjects such as reading, science and math. At first, the teaching artists lead students in an activity such as storytelling. Then the regular teacher takes over.
“It really becomes a professional development opportunity for the teacher,” Muci said.
Muci said Kansas Wolf Trap is the only Midwestern affiliate of the Virginia-based organization. Wolf Trap is funded through a combination of donations, government grants and foundation grants.
Muci grew up in Wichita and earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Wichita State University, then went on to get a master’s in violin performance from Northeastern University.
She was a member of the Knoxville (Tenn.) Symphony for 20 years.
“I think on one of my very first days we were immediately sent out into one of these schools” as part of an education program, she said. “I knew right away, as much as I loved performing, when I set foot in the school, this is so important.”
She returned to Wichita and a job with Arts Partners in 2011.
Muci is married to Herbert Eckhoff, a retired opera singer and U.S. Air Force officer. She said the couple enjoy spending time with their “two kids” – a couple of Pyrenees dogs.