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Yes Let's

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.

PROJECT BREAKDOWN

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.

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. Class Teacher, Falkland Primary School

For more information, please contact our Creative Practitioner, Lottie Crowder

[email protected]

01635 582666