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ASU professor works with early childhood experts in Ireland as Fulbright Specialist

ASU professor standing next to large letters that spell "welcome" on a lawn.

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December 05, 2023

Arizona State University Assistant Professor Amanda Pintore’s passion is theater and dance for the very young. So when she was sought out by Rita Melia, lecturer in early childhood education and care at Atlantic Technological University (ATU) in Ireland, to bring her knowledge abroad as a Fulbright Specialist, she was honored to share her expertise.

Pintore spent a month in Ireland this past semester, working with specialists at various early childhood education sites, teaching them how the creative practice of dance and theater can inform their work as educators.

“I’ve done a lot of work with performers,” Pintore said. “This is the flip of that, working with early childhood educators who want to learn about early childhood creativity and experimental play practices.”

Pintore’s research and creative practice focuses on directing, choreographing and devising. She creates research-based theater and dance performances for 0–6 year olds and their caregivers. In the School of Music, Dance and Theatre at ASU, she works with graduate students in the Theatre for Youth and Community program and is a community engagement faculty mentor.

“In my process, I work with very young children as artists and collaborators in the development of … performances,” Pintore said. “​​What I'm reminded of every single time is that their ideas are so much more interesting, dynamic and abstract than anything I might come up with.”

Pintore is the first Fulbright Specialist to work with an early-childhood care and education program in Ireland. During her time there, she led two artist workshops focused on strategies for collaboration and creative research within theater and dance for the very-young performances. One was for international artists at the annual Baboró Children’s Festival in Galway, and one was for early-years artists at The Ark theater in Dublin. She also spoke on the panel “Arts in Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare Pilot Scheme” at the Baboró Children’s Festival, hosted by the Arts Council of Ireland and ATU. In Galway and Mayo, Pintore led a play lab research session with local children.

“The Fulbright is this beautiful gift where both sides have the time, space and funding to collaborate and to actually be in physical space and time together with the same goal,” Pintore said.

Pintore said she was honored to be asked to share her practice with ATU and she looks forward to future projects that build collaboration around the world.

“No matter where you go, there are people who are deeply committed to the care, support and artistic nourishment of very young children,” Pintore said. “Country to country, these systems look very different. My big, big dream is creating stronger bridges globally between the people doing this work.”

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