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 National Literacy Strategy Framework for Teaching has replaced an English curriculum which used to contain specific drama elements, 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.
If you have the hall time available, though, thirty minutes or an hour each week can make all the difference to the personal, social and educational development of Key Stage 2 children. Peer pressure and social inclusion are extremely important to children in Key Stage 2 and drama can help them to be more confident and assertive when faced with situations which cause them distress.
Further development of language and communication skills are also an essential element of drama work, as are encouraging independent work, positive group interaction, negotiation skills, maintaining appropriate responses, further developing speaking and listening skills and facilitating creative expression.
Children at Key Stage 2 will role-play in a much more sophisticated manner, thus enabling you and them to explore contexts in a more focussed way. They should be able to respond to stimuli well and be self-aware enough to form opinions, give reasons and assess their work constructively.
However, it is essential that you remember that drama is concerned primarily with process and it is not essential that you end up with a finished product, as children from age 7 upwards will want to 'show' their work to each other constantly!
Suggestions for drama activities include:
Include games with more complex instructions and balance physical games with more concentration games.
Introduce more activities which require negotiation and working with others.
Issue-based drama works extremely well with older children - using dilemmas and problems which they can relate to, or drawing upon experiences they may have had, can lead to some very powerful work.
This age group can understand the concept of role-play and this can be explored in a variety of ways and by using a number of different drama methods.
Children in Years 5 and 6 will enjoy the opportunity of directing and developing the drama work themselves and will happily take a single idea or issue as far as it will go for a sustained period.
Using a stimulus also works well with this age group, especially as a basis for exploring individual problems, dilemmas or issues.
They will want to 'perform' much more and need to be carefully monitored to ensure that they don't divert into too much product-based drama, or theatre.
Continue using drama games regularly as they teach a variety of social skills and will implicitly build confidence and develop concentration and cognitive ability.
Go to Drama Games for specific drama games to try.