There has been extensive research into the benefits of the arts in Early Years settings telling us that, ‘Using drama activities with young children puts them on the path of a creative journey and helps them to develop their social, cognitive and language skills. Drama is about our humanity in all its complexity, helping us to make sense of the world around us’-Hendy 2001. We know too that schools don’t always have access to a high quality level of drama provision, depriving children of valuable learning and development opportunities.
This led to the design and creation of this project: the sessions are facilitated by experienced professional theatre and education practitioners and has been created in consultancy with Sarah Whatmore, Early Years Improvement Advisor / EY LACES Adviser for West Berkshire Council. The project is inspired by the characteristics of effective learning which link naturally to a drama-based approach to teaching.
THE PROJECT AIMS TO:
- Allow pupils to explore the EYFS areas of learning and development through the in depth exploration of a specific topic (chosen in collaboration with the school)
- Develop skills around basic drama practices such as speaking aloud in front of a group, teamwork, problem solving and working independently.
- To create a performance piece that can be shared with parents and / or the rest of the school
- Develop drama skills in the lead teacher
- Allow lead teacher time to observe their class working
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The project consists of 6 x 60 minute sessions, all exploring one theme but and learning other skills through and via that theme (e.g. ‘What makes me special?’ or ‘Space’). The sessions are broken down using the EYFS key areas of learning and each session is practical, with the class learning through drama and play.
There are also 3 x 15 minute sessions for the practitioner and the lead teacher to reflect on and discuss the project. These will be scheduled for the beginning middle and end of the project. These sessions are also a CPD opportunity, designed to help the teacher to feel more confident in using drama as a tool for engaging learning in the classroom.
Session 1: Sensory Storytelling
Introduction to the topic exploring pupils’ thoughts and ideas through an interactive story or ‘whoosh’. Incorporating songs, rhymes, actions, props and plenty of opportunities to join in.
Session 2 : Technology / Craft
The second session is a craft based task such as prop or mask making that ties directly to the story we have been looking at that can also be used in the retelling of the story.
Session 3: Maths and Numeracy
We will explore mathematical problems and themed games using the story as stimulus for their learning and understanding.
Session 4: Literacy and Oracy
The fourth session has a literacy focus and we will look at elements of the story in more detail (specific words, characters etc). Further investigation into the story and using the themes and plot lines to shape our learning and extend to writing where appropriate.
Session 5 & 6: Performance Creation
Using everything they have learnt and the props that they have made, they are now going to create, as a group, a short performance based on or around the theme / story they have been looking at. Exploring narrative, characterization and their investigations around the chosen topic. The practitioner will allow space for the children to input so as to shape the process and outcome.
“I think the project went brilliantly well. Becci was so professional and organised and the children were totally engaged by the sessions that she had planned. It outlived every expectation I had of the project. I have noticed so many improvements in the children! They are all more drawn to our craft area and all children have been more inventive in how they have created their art or models. I have also noticed a huge improvement in the children's consideration for each other's turns. I think this is because of the name games, etc where children have had to respect their peers having their go and waiting for their own turn. All children have also been more polite because of this; saying goodbye, good morning, or congratulating each other for something they have done well; it's been particularly lovely to see this. I absolutely would recommend this project (I actually already have!) I also look forward to working with Becci and the Corn Exchange team again in the future because I think it had added so much to our class' confidence, consideration and creativity.”
“The project has been fantastic! All chn have loved being a part of it and it has covered many areas of the EYFS curriculum. The combination of physical activities, art and storytelling has ensured that all chn are engaged and able to participate. The chn look forward to their sessions each week and take great pride in what they have achieved and created in the sessions. I definitely have within the sessions. It has been so lovely to see all the chn come out of their comfort zones and join in...especially activities that involve imagination and role play! It has been particularly wonderful to see the boys engaged and enjoying the art activities.”
“The project was really lovely. I liked the mix of activities, the content coverage and you were great with the children! It was really nice to see all children accessing it and I have lots of new ideas for the future from you! Our children seem to be making more things in the making area and are loving telling stories in the role play area. I would love to do something like this with yourselves again! The children loved it!”
“The project was a success from the start. The children looked forward to the sessions once they had experienced a drama session and were always engaged. I believe that the children’s active engagement in the sessions was an evidence of the development of their creative skills (I didn’t really hear any child say “I don’t know what to do” or do nothing). You covered all the areas you had mentioned on your program and you were very thorough with each activity. Every session was packed with short activities that were manageable for all. At times, I was actually impressed that they could do so much in an hour. Thank you for sharing the plans with me, that was helpful and obviously helped me revisit some of the songs and poems with the children. I can’t really think of any improvement to make to the project and I will definitely recommend this project to other EYFS practitioners. I would also be very happy to take part in another project in the future. I look forward to hopefully working with you again in another project. Thank you for sharing your ideas and enthusiasm with the children and for inspiring me.”
“The children look forward to the sessions and it has added an extra dimension to our dinosaur topic. The cross curricular approach is very enjoyable and ticks many boxes curriculum-wise. I've noticed that some of the children who were more hesitant in the first weeks are now very happy to 'have a go' at all the activities. I've also noticed that the practical, spacious and creative setting has encouraged some of our more 'lively' characters to settle down and get involved in the less physical activities where they've been happy to pick up a pencil or crayon to record their ideas on paper - something they are often reluctant to do. E.g. they all were all very keen and focused when making their own book.”
For more information, please contact our Early Years and Education Officer Rebecca Smith at:
Yes Let's Project Pack
- Yes Lets Project Pack