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The Benefits of Dramatic Play

Posted on 07/01/20 by Dominick in Early Childhood

I love having the opportunity to facilitate dramatic play at TMS. I love watching thechildrens’ creative imaginations come to life when we play basic theater games and activities. Ilove creating our own stories together and then acting them out together. I love when we createour own dramatic play themes/plots; like when we all became pirates with job assignments andwent on a very dangerous treasure hunt. But my absolute favorite dramatic play undertaking todo with my students is to read and act out books with them.

There are many reasons I choose to use books as a launching pad in Drama at TMS.

First, it provides a structure or routine. I introduce the book, read the book, assignroles/characters, collaborate and practice with the children on what they will do at differentpoints in the story and then try and go from beginning to end in a linear fashion.

Second, within a couple weeks the children learn this pattern and then begin thinking how they might want totry something from the story, ways to enhance the story (usually the ending) or who they want tobe in the story.

Third, through dramatic play/acting out stories they are growing and learning in so many ways. They have to accept not getting the part they want the most and move on, they collaborate to reach a goal, they explore feelings and the thoughts that accompany those feelings. They have to recall and repeat multiple tasks at times without help, their inter/intrapersonal skills are expanded, they advance their verbal skills and enhance empathy for others to name a few.

Fourth, I love hearing them connect with the characters and what happens in the stories. Meaning, they start connecting their own experiences to those in the story.

Fifth, I like how using books challenges my creativity. Trying to figure out how to act out a story with two characters in a class of 4-15, how to use the space, what do I add or omit, should I be a character and, if so, which one? And then changing my role because certain children want to try their suggestions or ideas.

I could go on and on discussing why I love “doing” drama and acting out stories with preschool age children who are built to pretend. But it really boils down to...it’s fun. Fun for the kids; even the ones who are shy and at times just want to watch (which is a vital part of theater). It’s fun for me. It even seems fun for the classroom teachers to watch the process and how they act out the stories. Fun seems an oversimplification but it might be the most vital component to a successful class. When what we do is fun, especially for a preschooler, growing and learning becomes effortless.

Some of my favorite books to act out with preschoolers that you can try at home:

  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  • Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Sam and the Tigers by Julius Lester
  • Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson
  • Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
  • Ribbit by Rodrigo Folgueira
  • Zomo the Rabbit by Gerald McDermott

-Mr. C, Drama Specialist

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