Miss Abigail’s thought for the week: the importance of drama and role play

“Whenever children say, ‘Let’s pretend?’, a new landscape of possibilities for learning is revealed.  When children pretend, they try on new feelings, roles and ideas.  They stretch their minds along with their imaginations.” (Curtis and Carter)

https://youtu.be/buS7f3YxUAw Here is a short clip of some pre-nursery children role playing being Miss Louise and her class with, here, Esmat pretending to be Miss Louise reading the children a story.  This is how it starts – imitating situations they experience every day and seeing what it ‘feels’ like from someone else’s perspective.  This is essential, not just in developing drama skills but, more importantly, to make sense of the world around them and of their interactions with other people.

This year, we changed the way we teach English and we now teach 3 week units (or teaching sequences) each based around a core text.  Drama and role play are important strategies used for getting to know the core text, exploring the characters or settings, practising the use of language, rehearsing what we might like to say in our outcome text, etc.

For example, year 3 are currently preparing to write some diary entries for the main characters in Little Red Riding Hood and they have been learning about adding prepositions and prepositional phrases in their writing to add description to their writing.  This quick role play (for which the children had 5 minutes’ preparation time) shows the narrator (Miguel) using a variety of prepositional phrases in his retelling of the story.  https://youtu.be/DxbklSjOrA0

In addition to small drama activities as part of our English teaching sequences, and as part of our CCS (Creative Curriculum Studies) lessons, there have been many skits and sketches performed in assemblies, between buddy classes and year groups.  This video shows part of a year 3 assembly on critical thinking a couple of weeks ago, in which they did 3 little role plays.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtIQDJQPFgg&feature=youtu.be (The sound is a little hard to hear.)

Next week, year 5 are going classic!  They are going to be choosing from some Shakespeare soliloquies / monologues from Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Henry IV to learn by heart and perform with dramatic effect.  I predict a fair few witchy old hags!  They will be focussing on using their voice for expression.  If any of you are Shakespeare fiends and would like to come in and support the year 5s in doing this or show off soliloquies learned in your misspent youth, please let the year 5 teachers know!