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Why teach Drama to Primary School children?

Over the years, and as I got accustomed to the U.K. educational style, how much people valued drama training and its uses from a very early stage, and after witnessing the benefits of drama to Key Stages 1 & 2 students outside school hours, I couldn’t help but wonder; why isn’t Drama part of the Primary Schools’ curriculum?

So here we are, trying to change the realm, by infusing little by little, touches of drama in students’ everyday learning experience. And, oh, how it feels natural to them ...

Dramatic activity is already a natural part of most children’s lives before they start school in the form of make-believe play, enabling them to make sense of their own identity by exploring meaningful fictional situations that have parallels in the real world. This can be utilized at school through structured play and drama to encourage pupils to learn actively and interactively throughout the primary years and across the curriculum. As we all know, children like to move, run, sing, interact with others, and in drama lessons we ask them to do exactly this! Instead of sitting down and listening they are encouraged to move, speak and respond to one another. It is proven that students who are challenged by reading and writing (including those with English as a second language) often respond more positively to the imaginative and multisensory learning offered by drama. This in turn helps them develop such skills as creativity, enquiry, communication, empathy, self-confidence, cooperation, leadership and negotiation. Most importantly, drama activities are fun – making learning both enjoyable and memorable. Drama is a mode of learning that challenges students to make meaning of their world. A drama education which begins with play may eventually include all the elements of theatre. Drama in the school curriculum can develop students’ artistic and creative skills. It can also provide knowledge and skills that are transferable to a variety of artistic, social and work-related contexts, but also be ideal for cross-curriculum learning, such as developing literacy skills, extending vocabulary, building confidence when expressing views, motivating writing, and many other. In a nutshell, with drama we learn: * to recognize what is fair and unfair, kind and unkind, wright and wrong. *to identify and respect the differences and similarities between people. *to develop skills in voice, diction, and posture. *to engage imaginatively with the thought, emotion and form of a text. *to participate in games developing communications skills, and to include. *to rehearse and perform for an audience. *to love. Confucius, a renowned Chinese philosopher, explaining the role of drama in education wrote, ‘Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.’ ...What exactly are we waiting for? Danay Bouzala, Director of Drama

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