Key Stage 1
Until recently Primary schools were overlooked when it came to drama provision. Now, with the subject on the ascendant again it is gradually being recognised as a valuable teaching and learning method.
Drama is an ideal subject for young children to experience and, at Key Stage 1, it is invaluable as a means for developing communication skills, encourage positive social interaction, increasing physical control and teaching children how to listen and respond appropriately.
The sharp learning curve experienced by children as they enter Year 1 can sometimes prove bewildering, but simple drama games and exercises can support their learning in an enjoyable way. It is essential, for example, that children at this stage of their development learn to listen and respond to instructions and many drama games contain this element as an implicit part of the activities.
Children of five and six also recognise and respond to familiar stories and these can be extremely useful if used as a stimulus for drama work. They will also begin to be more willing to take an individual role in activities, and this can be encouraged through drama and will develop the self-reliance and confidence required for their future learning.
Suggestions for drama activities include:
Drama games - these are excellent for teaching a number of skills and abilities, including negotiation, concentration, speaking and listening skills, name learning, cognitive ability, team work, spatial awareness, amongst many others.
Play physical games to establish rules and codes of conduct - any tag games or simple running-around games are excellent.
Use clapping games to develop speaking and listening skills, these also work well when used as ice-breakers and name games.
Simple movement exercises, such as mirrors, robots, statues, etc. will increase spatial awareness and further develop concentration skills. Musical Statues is an excellent example of a valid movement game.
Follow-my-leader and copying games and exercises are good for building confidence and introducing work in a non-threatening way.
Mime work is excellent for introducing the concept of 'pretending'.
Use any stimulus you like: familiar stories, music, pictures, sounds, etc. The children will respond particularly well to having their drama work directed through an 'imposed' idea or subject.
Don't be afraid to allow ideas to come from them - ask them what they would like to 'pretend' and allow roles and work to develop from their ideas.
Introduce more concentration games and exercises, to begin to develop their memory skills and ability to focus on a particular task for a period of time.
Go to Drama Games for specific drama games to try.