Kids & Teens

Academy FAQ

Welcome! Please see below for frequestly asked questions. If you have more questions about our on-campus programs, classes, camps, workshops, or YETi, please reach out to Academy Admin by Clicking Here.


About Academy:

Academy's mission: Harnessing‌ ‌the‌ ‌transformative‌ ‌power‌ ‌of‌ ‌theatre,‌ ‌Childsplay Theatre Academy ‌create‌s ‌education‌ ‌programs‌ ‌that‌ ‌center‌ ‌young‌ ‌people‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌process‌ ‌of‌ ‌artistic‌ ‌discovery‌ ‌and‌ ‌courageous‌ ‌empathy.‌


All Academy programs take place on at the Sybil B. Harrington Campus for Imagination and Wonder, or just Childsplay Campus for short, located at 900 S. Mitchell Drive in Tempe AZ. Specific programs like Conservatory, YETi, or our Summer On Stage Production classes may perform at offsite venues.


About My Child

My child has a food allergy or chronic medical condition (ex. Asthma). What steps should I take to alert the staff? 
My child has never acted before, can they participate? 
My child is just outside of the age range of a specific class. Are you able to make an age exception for them to join?
My child is timid. Will this class be appropriate? 
What if my child hasn't read the book (or seen the tv show/film) which inspired the class? 
What if my child needs to miss all or part of a class? 
Who may enroll in Childsplay Theatre Academy? 


About Your Programs


During Class






About My Child

My child has a disability. Can they enroll in a class?

Many students with mental and physical disabilities successfully participate in our programs. During registration, there is a place to share details about the needs and needed accomdations for your child. If we have questions or need more guidance, we can reach out to you about your shared details. You may also schedule a meeting with Academy Admin to discuss further. Our staff are primarily Theatre Artists and don't have SPED certifications, but are ready and eager to help each student have what they need to be successful. If you have a professional support caregiver, please contact Academy Admin to submit necessary documentation to have them in class with your student.


My child has a food allergy or chronic medical condition (ex. Asthma). What steps should I take to alert the staff?

During the registration process, you will be prompted to share details about medical and behavioral information that teachers should be aware of. Childsplay Theatre Academy cannot dispense, monitor, or maintain medication for any student EXCEPT in the event of an allergic reaction and asthma attack for which we have received an Action Plan and the necessary medication. The liability release explicitly releases from liability resulting from actions taken in case of emergency. Please feel confident in the fact that every member of our staff participates in emergency training, specifically learning to recognize early onset symptoms of medical distress and procedures to administer Epi-Pens and rescue inhalers. 


My child has never acted before, can they participate?

Absolutely! Because our classes focus on building skills, Childsplay offers programs accessible for beginners and experienced students. Some programs like onstage or musical theatre marathons do incorporate formal performances and elements may be intimidating for absolute beginners. We recommend some theatre experience for Theatre Intensives. Please contact Academy Manager if you have questions about the suitability of a particular class.


My child is just outside of the age range of a specific class. Are you able to make an age exception for them to join?

Our age restrictions for theatre classes are designed with careful consideration of pedagogical principles and the developmental milestones of our young participants. We believe in fostering an environment conducive to their physical, mental, and emotional growth. While we maintain firm age boundaries, we are open to individual exceptions, granted at our discretion, provided the student's birthday falls within 60 days of the class start date.


My child is timid. Will this class be appropriate?

Yes! Our teachers accommodate students’ different needs and have a great rapport with students. Oftentimes participation in a theatre class helps students come out of their shell. 


What if my child hasn't read the book (or seen the tv show/film) which inspired the class?

Theme classes pull inspiration for drama skill building from material popular with young people. However, detailed knowledge of the source material is not required. In theme classes, students do not reenact the story or perform a play. Instead, the book is a framework to launch new stories devised by the class. For example in Hogwarts Summer School, students develop original young wizard characters studying at the famous school and imagine what else may happen in this universe. Children who haven't read the books or seen the films can imagine the possible challenges facing a young person with magical abilities and contribute to the creation of the new material. Everyone enjoys participating, even if they are not a fan of the source material. In fact, sometimes they bring fresh eyes to the topic and infuse original ideas into the group work. Please note; spoilers are possible. Although programs are accessible to students with varying experience with the theme, young people who are fans of the topic enjoy discussing it. We encourage students not to reveal spoilers, but a young person who's read the sixth "Dog Man" graphic novel may not be able to contain themselves! 


Who may enroll in Childsplay Theatre Academy?

As part of Childsplay’s commitment to access and inclusion, at Childsplay Theatre Academy we make intentional choices in our classroom practices to be a welcoming space for peoples of all ability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. We are happy to address students’ individual physical, learning and social needs. If there are ways we can be welcoming to your family, please let us know at here.


About Your Programs


How does my child audition for script-based classes (such as Scripted Stories, Marathons, and On Stage Production classes)?

Many times, auditions take place on the first day of class towards the beginning. Many times, the student will read through the script first and then take a moment to share what parts they might be interested in (although no guarentees are made). These classes do have limited enrollment and often sell out. Keeping the number of participants small gives every participant in the class individual characters and featured moments in the performance. When casting we strive to provide students with opportunities that challenge but not overwhelm them. This is a balance. And there are students in every program who, either because of theatre experience or age, may be ready for a more significant challenge than others. We always endeavor to provide every participant featured moments in the presentation.


What age will my students classmates be?

Each class has an age range spanning anywhere from two years apart to seven years apart. It's hard to predict the breakdown of ages that will sign up. If we are offering two sections of the same class, we tend to divvy the students up by age/grade when possible. If you would like a more precise breakdown of the ages for a particular class, or you know that your kiddo would be more comfortable with a particular age group, you can reach out to academy admin for questions or comments on the topic.


What is a "theatre game"?

A theatre game is an exercise designed to teach a skill that can be used on stage (and in real life too!). We use different games that teach such skills as mental focus, ensemble building, healthy vocal production, physical awareness, and emotional connection to your text. Through games, students can learn advanced concepts and overcome personal hurdles while laughing and creating.


What is the aim of Childsplay Academy?

Childsplay Academy provides quality theatre education classes for students ages 2-18 at our facility, the Sybil B. Harrington Campus for Imagination and Wonder at Mitchell Park. Acting, Musical Theatre, and Imagination Theatre classes cultivate a student’s performing arts abilities and focus on the personal development of the child including social, emotional and intellectual skills. Our mission in Academy is: Harnessing‌ ‌the‌ ‌transformative‌ ‌power‌ ‌of‌ ‌theatre,‌ ‌Childsplay Theatre Academy ‌create‌s ‌education‌ ‌programs‌ ‌that‌ ‌center‌ ‌young‌ ‌people‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌process‌ ‌of‌ ‌artistic‌ ‌discovery‌ ‌and‌ ‌courageous‌ ‌empathy.‌


What is your student to teacher ratio?

We pride ourselves on a great student-teacher ratio. We generally keep our ratio not bigger than 1:10 classes except for specialty classes or classes with older students (10+). During Break Classes (Summer Break, Fall Break, Winter Break and Spring Break) each class has 2 adult staff members and an intern.

  • Theme Classes ages 4-6: We cap classes at 14 students with a ratio on 1:8 and often times 1:5
  • Theme Classes ages 6-9: We cap classes at 17 students with a ratio of 1:9 and often times 1:6
  • Theme Classes ages 8-12: We cap classes at 17 students with a ratio of 1:9 and often times 1:6
  • Marathon Classses ages 8-15: We cap classes at 20 students with a ratio of 1:10 and sometimes 1:7 Intensive
  • Classes ages 10-17: We cap classes at 20 students with a ration of 1:10 and sometimes 1:7

The name of staff members is made available 10 days before the start of class.


What will my child be doing in class?

We have a number of programs with specific goals, but the foundation of all our classes is building theatre skills, and each class does this by incorporating activities that focus on the class theme/topic. Teachers utilize carefully designed exercises that help build concentration, confidence and cooperation, the building blocks of theatre education. Sometimes this includes drama games, which are also a component of collegiate and professional acting training. Theatre games are highly memorable and fun components of a drama classes and are just one element of our comprehensive curriculum. Some programs such as theatre productions and musical theatre marathons are more rehearsal focused. All Childsplay Theatre Academy classes focus on building acting skills using the actor's tools; body, voice, and imagination.


What will the age of my student's classmates be?

Each class has an age range spanning anywhere from two years apart to seven years apart. It's hard to predict the break down of ages that will sign up. If we are offering two sections of the same class, we tend to divvy the students up by age/grade when possible. If you would like a more precicse breakdown of the ages for a particular class, or you know that your kiddo would be more comfortable with a particular age group, you can reach out to academy admin for queations or comments on the topic.


Who will my child's teachers be?

 All of our teachers are professional theatre teaching artists. Bios for all of our Academy Staff can be found here. Most of our teaching artists have been with Childsplay for more than three years, and several for more than 20 years! Everyone employed by Childsplay Theatre Academy has undergone a background check and has a current Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card.


Will my child wear a costume?

 Childsplay never requires students to puchase anything for costumes. Teachers may invite students to look in their closests and try to find something that would match their character, or may even encourage you to get crafty. We sometimes provide costume props like caps, hats, masks or gloves. Some programs like our On Stage Production Classes or Conservatory classes may have a little but more of a formal costumes, but in genera our programs focus on the storytelling process and the fun of theatre, and we try not to get bogged down by intricate sets or costumes.


Will there be a performance at the end of the class?

Every class culminates with a presentation. Most classes end with an in-class sharing on the last day of class. A "sharing" is a 15-20 minute recap of the things students learned throughout the class. Students may recreate activities they did and discuss the skills they learned. Sharings will have a dramatic demonstration like scenes created by the students, monologues, improvised portions, singing, or dancing. Other classes such as the Stage Stories Classes, Marathon classes, and Theatre Fundamentals will present in a showcase setting with rehearse material (such as a script or devised scenes). Onstage Production classes perform onstage at the Tempe Center for the Arts on the last day of class. Classes may have limited seating; be sure to check the Caregiver Dashboard for details on your programs capstone presentation.


During Class


Can I stay and watch class?

All of our classes are closed classes (except private lessons where we require a caregiver to remain nearby during the lesson). Caregivers are welcome to be in the room for the first 5-10 minutes of class, but once class starts we will ask caregivers to leave. We have a small waiting lounge where loved ones can hang out if they'd like to be nearby. Please reach out to Academy Admin for access to this space. We do make exception for professional support caregivers who have been approved by academy admin and have submitted a finger print clearance card. If you will be sending a support staff, please reach out to Academy Admin.


Can my child use a cellphone, tablet, etc. in class?

Students will not be allowed to use electronic devices (including cell phones) during class hours (or lunch break if applicable). During Break classes such as Summer Break, Fall Break, Winter Break, or Spring Break, students may use certain electronics during Before or After Care. However, Childsplay is not responsible for lost or damaged items. Please alert Academy Manager if your child utilizes electronic devices as communication or therapeutic outlet necessary for participation in a class. 


Do students bring lunch/snack?

During our season classes (Weekly classes taking places between Aug - May), we encourage families to send their kiddo with a snack and a full water bottle for each class meeting. Students in all-day break classes (Summer Break, Fall Break, Winterr Break and Spring Break) will need a sack lunch daily and we may have access to a concession stand with simple things like chips, granola bars, crackers etc. Children do not have access to a refrigerator or microwave. Our half day classes ages 4-6 do not have lunch breaks, but again, are encouraged to bring a snack and a full water bottle.


What about campus supervision?

Each classroom is assigned at least one teaching artist, one adult assistant teacher, and one teen volunteer intern. In classes 6+, Students visit the (outside) restroom as a group under the supervision of a staff member. There is a single restroom attached to the 4-6-year-old classroom, and this age group does not take group bathroom breaks unless absolutely necessary. The campus is also home to Childsplay Theatre’s administrative offices, prop and costume shop. We employ several full-time staff members who all have been background checked and verified for working with young people. Staff may assist with supervision if need arises. 


What if my child needs to miss all or part of a class?

Attendance and punctuality are crucial in a drama class. Students collaborate to create a piece of theatre together. We anticipate students will attend every day of the class in which they enroll, except in the case of illness or emergency. Consecutive absences may affect how a student participates in the sharings or performances at the culmination of the program. Please check your schedules before registering for a program. If your child will be absent or late, please contact Academy Manager here. Knowing about an absence in advance helps teachers adjust lessons accordingly. There are no discounts or credits for missed classes.


What happens in morning or afternoon extended care?

Extended care is only available during Break Classes (Summer Break, Fall Break, Winter Break and Spring Break), and only available to full day classes ages 6+ (it's not available for half-day classes ages 4-6) We know that with six hours of structured time during the day, students need unstructured time before and after class. Students may play board games, color, build with lego, read books, draw, or play drama games with the other children or teachers. During this time, students may bring electronics, however sharing electronics is not permitted. If any electronics prove to be a problem, they will be asked to put the item away. We do not confiscate electronics, but we may request that they not be brough in.


What is the drop off procedure?

We have a large campus and all of our classes have separate drop off locations. When you arrive, it might not be obvious where you should go. Please be sure to check the Camp Today tab on the Caregiver Dashboard for your room number. You may also click the link to view a campus map before arriving. It is the responsibility of the Caregiver to ensure their student makes it to their classroom safely. Some classroom doors are visible from the parking area, but several are on the opposite side of the building that is facing a public park. During Breaks (Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring Break) Extended care will always (unless told otherwise), will be in Room 1 located near the accessible parking and the entrance to the administrative office.


What is the pickup procedure?

Students will NOT be released to people who are not on the authorized pick up list. You can edit this list on the Caregiver dashboard under the "Authorized Picks" tab. During Break Classes (Summer Break, Fall Break, Winter Break, and Spring Break) any student not picked up by 3:40 PM will be walked to Extended Care in Room 1. This does not include our half day classes Ages 4-6; pickups will be either in their classroom or in the front office. However, all families will be charge a late pick up fee for all late picks exceeding 10 minutes past the end of class time.


What is the snack policy for half-day classes?

Please send your child with a snack and water each day for their break. Students in the half-day classes do not visit the concession stand.


What is your snack policy for all-day classes?

There is both morning and afternoon break times during class. Students may bring a snack from home or may purchase snacks from our concession stand. We do our best to keep our concession stand stocked, but some days the items may be very light.


Will students be outside during the day?

All class activities will take place indoors. Students will only be outside when walking to the restrooms, (or concession stand and lunch room during Break Classes like Summer Break, Fall Break, Winter Break and Spring Break - however half day classes for ages 4-6 do not take trips to the bathroom or concession stand). They will always be under the supervision of staff members when traveling between classrooms.




Can I register for a program that has already begun?

We will accept registrations as long as space is available or until the second class meets, whichever comes first. We do not offer pro-rated tuition. If a class option no longer appears, you may reach out to the Academy Admin to assist with registration.


Do you accept ESA Funds?

Yes. We are on vendor on ClassWallet. If you need documentation of the class you are enrolled you, you will need to contact Academy Admin directly to get the info you need. Please be sure and include "ESA Documentation Request" If you need to be reimbursed and need an attestation form, you can download that by CLICKING HERE


What is your cancellation policy?

Please review your plans before registering. If you are not able to attend a registered class, contact Academy Admin here. Academy tuition is refundable (minus a $50 cancellation fee) when patrons cancel at least 30 days before a program’s (per class) start date. Alternatively, the tuition paid may be applied as a credit toward the price of a future class, minus a $50 cancellation fee. When cancellations occur on or after the first day of class, no refunds or credits can be given. 


What is Childsplay's Tax ID number?

EIN: 86-0336473