“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” –Albert Einstein
Many will concur that a young child’s first and favourite activity is “pretend play”. They create situations and characters and perform very convincing roles, often rendering the adults around them speechless.
This free play and creative thinking is a display of the child’s developmental learning ability and shows that their imaginations have no boundaries.
Contrary to popular belief, that drama is only about playing games and doing unimportant activities, drama teaches a child some very crucial life skills.
If the child is exposed to the subject at primary school level, they begin immediately learning about healthy communication skills, creative problem solving skills, and most importantly, good social skills. In the foundation phase drama classroom, self-expression and creativity are encouraged. How wonderful for the young ones, that they can finally express themselves so freely, while being gently guided towards respect for others?
Drama in the younger years encourages language development and confidence. In their normal classroom environment, the teacher speaks and the child listens. Speaking is almost unlawful!
In the drama classroom the children watch each other express themselves, with no judgement or inhibition, and the quieter learner is prompted to do “get out of the shell”.
Movement and coordination skills are also part of the foundation phase drama curriculum. Learners engage in locomotor and non-locomotor activities and they learn to express themselves using movement. At this young age they are also learning spatial awareness and are encouraged to use the space safely, and without bumping or hurting each other.
The benefits of drama on the primary school learner cannot be overemphasized. In this digital world where modern technology isolates and stifles us, isn’t it wonderful that this learning area affords our children such a tremendous amount of freedom of expression?
DRAMA TEACHER, DURBAN NORTH PRIMARY SCHOOL