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drama in the primary school

early years/foundation stage

key stage 1

key stage 2

drama - speaking & listening

planning a drama lesson

writing an arts policy

primary drama policy

methods for implementing a drama policy

primary drama lesson plans

secondary education

a typical drama lesson

what every well-equipped drama studio needs

studying Shakespeare

drama and students with special needs



Drama in the Primary School

If drama is to take its rightful place as a discrete and valuable subject in the primary sector, the new strategy for primary schools: 'Excellence and Enjoyment - A Strategy for Primary Schools' may prove to be the catalyst to generate change. Launched by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in May 2003, the strategy is a vision for the sector where 'high standards are obtained through a rich, varied and exciting curriculum which develops children in a range of ways'.

It can only be hoped - and assumed - that this 'rich, varied and exciting curriculum' will consist of many arts subjects, drama included.

The Department for Education and Skills have already tapped into the rich seam of drama learning through the Primary National Strategy document: 'Speaking, listening, learning: working with children in Key Stages 1 and 2'. The drama objectives are multi-stranded and clearly defined - and provide primary teachers with an excellent basis for any drama work or lessons.

However, many primary schools already include drama in their curriculum, without realising that the activities the children are involved in are actually drama. The value of drama activities is that they are shared by all and not only do they enhance structured learning, but also develop social and personal learning too.

Early Years/Foundation Stage

Drama with early years is structured around the activities which are already part of young children's development: action rhymes and songs; follow-my-leader games; structured play and role play; circle games; whole group mime and movement activities.

Drama specialist and teacher, Peter Kennedy, explains the practical applications and positive outcomes of drama as structured, play-based learning with young children in his article 'Drama in the Foundation Stage' [pdf]

Key Stage 1

At Key Stage 1 drama is invaluable as a means for developing language skills, encouraging positive social interaction, increasing physical control, stimulating imaginations and teaching children how to listen and respond appropriately.

Key Stage 2

Drama does not have to take up a tremendous amount of curriculum time and can be utilised in the classroom environment when you have a few moments to spare. The Speaking and Listening strand of the NLS contains specific drama objectives, but circle time and PE lessons can be just as useful in ensuring that your children experience the subject. Drama can also be used within the context of other subjects as a method for exploration or to enhance understanding.

Drama - Speaking and Listening

The inclusion of drama as an element with clear objectives has raised the profile of the subject and ensured that all primary schools now have to make clear provision for drama, timetabling drama and ensuring progression and continuity across and within the Key Stages. The drama objectives are clearly defined, as are their corresponding links to the NLS objectives.

Planning a Drama Lesson

Writing an Arts Policy

Primary Drama Policy - Free Download

If you don't have the time and experience to write your own school drama policy, Arts On The Move has produced a complete policy which will support your school framework and guidelines. This is available as a DOC file, to enable you to make amendments appropriate to your own school working practices.

Methods for Implementing a Drama Policy

Once your drama policy has been written, it's often difficult to know which methods work best, how to implement a cross-curricular approach, which techniques are suitable for use in the classroom - and how to generate ideas!

Primary Drama Lesson Plans

These articles, which first appeared in The Primary English Magazine, provide a structured workshop approach to primary drama. They cover a wide range of subjects and issues, including: Shakespeare; WW2/Home Front; Using Poetry as a Stimulus and Performance Skills for Juniors. These detailed, step by step, lesson plans provide clear guidance in delivering various primary drama lessons and will enable teachers to achieve the prescribed drama and literacy objectives.

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