Secrets of the Heart® Residency

The “Secrets” Children Learn:


Young Masters Little Wisdom® books, journals, visual arts supplies, Live Friendship Tree


Secrets of the Heart® is an arts-based social emotional program for Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten. It is the foundational program in a sequence of first, second and third grade programs that take children on a journey of discovering the arts and the gifts that live within each of them. As children learn the “secrets” of their hearts and incorporate the themes into their daily lives, they understand how these enduring understandings help them navigate life in our changing world.

The curriculum inspires children to learn at a critical time in their early years. As they learn how to work together, play together, respect each other and solve problems, they also learn about the diverse world in which they live. Learners of all levels become more academically, socially and personally successful by exploring their aspirations and dreams for the future. Programs are designed to have a positive impact on the entire school community and maximize learning whether children are on or off campus. The curriculum is based upon the Visual and Performing Arts Standards (VAPA) for the State of California, is aligned with the Common Core Standards for language and National Core Standards. Through student-centered programs and workshops for teachers and parents, the arts experiences focus on helping children develop a feeling of self-worth, belonging and purpose.

Secrets of the Heart®

The program is designed for four classrooms, two workshops per week, with up to 30 students per class, and can be expanded to include additional classrooms.

  • Parent Workshop: Provides an overview of what students will experience during the residency and introduces a family arts project. During the six-week residency, children, parents and family members create a vision board (we call it a Dream Board) with images that represent the family’s hopes and dreams for the future.
  • Professional Development: Offers participating TK and K teachers an opportunity to learn the program’s goals and expected outcomes and gives them a preview of some of the arts activities students will experience. The professional development is open to all teachers, regardless of grade level, and staff.
  • Opening Performance: Introduces a 45-minute interactive performance by the residency’s Teaching Artists for participating TK-K classes and other grade levels as space permits. Children learn the Young Masters Pledge and the first five secrets of the heart – friendship and a smile, kindness, imagination and gratitude – through music, dance, drumming, story and American Sign Language (ASL). On the stage is a “Friendship Tree” decorated with paper hearts expressing the wishes and hopes of the students and adults in the school. Wishes become dreams! The auditorium is filled with joy and anticipation, which lays the foundation for what will follow.


  • Music workshops: Children learn about Hawaii and the ukulele. They discover the  instrument’s origin, listen to how it sounds, and they explore the first secrets of the heart, friendship and a smile. With the guidance of their Teaching Artist, they learn the parts that make up a song, compose their own lyrics and learn movement to the music.
  • Dance workshops: Children visit the country of Liberia, Africa. They learn that because of language differences, the people of Africa welcome visitors to their villages with dance. They learn a call and response in the Yoruba language and they learn its meaning and movements. They discuss the third secret, kindness, and that welcoming is an act of kindness.
  • Theatre Arts workshops: Children explore the art of Mexican artist, Diego Rivera. They close their eyes and “enter” a painting using their five senses to experience the image and what it represents. They use the fourth secret, imagination, to create an original story about that work of art.
  • Visual Arts workshops: Students explore hats and headdresses worn around the world, design and create their own Young Masters headdress, which they decorate and use throughout the year for assemblies, reading time, special imagination and creativity time. Students learn that people all over the world have many things in common. One of those is that people from diverse cultures wear hats and headdresses for different reasons. Students learn color, shape, line and form.
  • Rehearsals: Two rehearsals prepare students for the culmination assembly.


  • Culmination: The children wear their headdresses and costumes of kente cloth (traditional in Ghana), and they confidently perform their songs, dances, and stories for family and friends.  Dream Boards made by the children and their families are displayed on the walls of the auditorium.


At the end of culmination, children and families join in a procession to the kindergarten yard. There, with song and ceremony, they dedicate the Friendship Tree, a live tree that was on stage as part of the opening performance.

Culmination and Planting of the Friendship Tree

The Secrets of the Heart culmination is a celebration of the arts and the principles that the children have learned over a six-week period. We plant the school Friendship Tree with the wishes that were placed on the tree in our beginning performance. A place where children can come to read, to talk, to resolve their differences and to make a new wish for their future.

Secrets of the Heart® Assemblies

More Info

Whole Program Demo

Content Demo​