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Week 7

on 6 September 2016

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Transcript of Jen Teh DRAMA IN EARLY CHILDHOOD Brisbane

In drama there are
core types of drama activity:
Drama or Dramatic play?
Older children
Older children can
the action by becoming actors and directors, costume makers and prop creators.
Promoting children’s participation in dramatic play

A teacher-in-role
also takes on a character, but in a planned manner and with a purpose in mind. This strategy can be used to ‘introduce new ideas, model alternative roles, develop tensions, highlight relevant language and even model use of symbolism’ (Dunn & Stinson, 2012, p. 126).
Understanding children’s drama development - younger children
• From an early age, children
spontaneously engage
in quite complex dramatic play where they respond to others in ways that are negotiated and semi-scripted.
EDAR104 Week 7
child-centred dramatic play
drama education.
Roy, Baker & Hamilton (2015, p. 108).
Child-centred dramatic play
is a key learning tool that fits within the educational drama language.
Children are given spaces and materials with which to
create their own dramatic responses.
Drama education
requires the teacher to take a more active role leading or controlling the process.
There are clear roles and processes.
The ideal is to balance the freedom of the child with the need for the teacher to be in control.

Roy, Baker & Hamilton (2015, p. 109).
• Even very
young children
respond to dramatic play such as:
playing ‘peek-a-boo’,
making animal noises when ‘reading’ a book with an adult,
taking on the mannerisms of others and book characters.
In 'make-believe' and pretend play young children often show good understandings about
being in role,

developing characters
using voice, developing tension within a story line
and much, much more.
• Dramatic play can be prompted by a child’s
current interests, by a prop, dress up costume, story, song, or event.
drama through child-structured play
Learning through drama includes children in:
Dramatic play can benefit the child's

development (co-ordination, confidence, strength etc.)

development (co-operation with others, self-knowledge and understanding of others)

development (problem-solving, increasing understanding of the world outside, literacy skills etc.)

development (oral language, listening and responding, increasing vocabulary etc.)
their ideas in informal contexts
to drama presentations
a range of ‘selves’
(Dunn & Stinson, 2012, pp. 115-116).
An example: 1. Children feel safe, secure, and supported
The Early Years Learning Framework and young children’s drama experiences
EYLF Outcome 1:
Children have a strong sense of identity
For example:
• Children feel safe, secure and supported
• Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency
• Children develop knowledgeable and confident self-identities
• Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect
This is evident when
• confidently explore and engage with social and physical environments through relationships and play
• initiate and join in play
• explore aspects of identity through role play.

promote this learning, for example, when they:
• are emotionally available and support children’s expression of their thoughts and feelings
• recognise that feelings of distress, fear or discomfort may take some time to resolve
• spend time interacting and conversing with each child.

Example: 2. Children develop knowledgeable and confident self-identities
This is evident, for example, when
• explore different identities and points of view in dramatic play

• share aspects of their culture with the other children and educators

• celebrate and share their contributions and achievements with others

promote this learning, for example, when they:
• provide children with examples of the many ways identities and culture are recognised and expressed

• provide rich and diverse resources that reflect children’s social worlds

• develop authentic children’s understanding of themselves.

Teacher and child interactions through drama
‘Teachers need to become more deliberate in supporting all forms of dramatic activity, through purposeful involvement and a conscious awareness of themselves as arts educators’

(Dunn & Stinson, 2012, pp. 116-117).
role of the adults
is to understand
• the basic drama elements
• the nature of drama activities
• the materials that are likely to support drama
• how to respond sensitively to the needs of individual children.

(Dunn & Stinson, 2012, p. 117)

Immersing the children in the Elements of Drama
• step into the place of another person, they sustain belief in that position, and represent that person’s relationships and point of view

• take on the physical mannerisms, voice, movement and actions they see as representing their pretend person

In drama or dramatic play, children work

when they:
• Conventions such as flashback, flash-forward and slow motion all play with TIME

• Children will also alter time and place to make joint dramatic events more plausible

is concerned with when and where the drama is set
• Action is determined by the plot; that is, action communicates the plot

• Action may be ‘inner’ (a characters inner thoughts and feelings) or ‘outer’ (a characters physical actions)

what each person in role is doing and thinking, alone and with others
• Children use physical space to communicate their ideas

• Space may be defined by using physical or imaginary barriers

• Space may be used naturalistically or symbolically

• Heightens the dramatic intensity and creates suspense or unease.

• Can relate to a task, relationships, mystery, surprise, emotional connection

the force that drives drama
• Heightens impact
the atmosphere or feeling created by the action and related elements
• We can focus on issues or ‘big ideas’

• We can focus on one aspect of the dramatic action

• Can refer to the level of concentration of those involved

There are 3 aspects of focus
symbols may be seen (a prop or costume)
the use of objects, costume, props and/or ACTION in a symbolic way
symbols may be heard (background music or sound effects)

Teacher as facilitator
can ‘introduce the fictional context and help the children identify, clarify and discuss the issue at hand’. They can ‘encourage and challenge the children’s ideas and mediate in the interactions’ between the adult in role and the children (Batt, 2001, p. 16).

Teacher as co-player
allows the teacher to engage in the dramatic play with the children. A teacher needs to consider how their involvement as co-player ‘might best support the children to extend and develop their play, trusting the play experience to provide the learning’ (Dunn & Stinson, 2012, p. 125).
Batt, T. (2001). Imagined Worlds: A journey through the expressive arts in early childhood. Auckland: NZ:
Playcentre Publications.

Deans, J., Brown, R., & Young, S. (2007). The possum story: reflections of an early childhood drama
teacher. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 32(4), 1-6.

Dunn, J., & Stinson, M. (2012). Dramatic play and drama in the early years: Re-imagining the approach. In S.
Wright (Ed.), Children, meaning-making and the arts (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.
(pp. 115-134).

Furman, L. (2000). In Support of Drama in Early Childhood Education, Again. Early Childhood Education
Journal, 27(3), 173-178.

Gupta, A. (2009). Vygotskian perspectives on using dramatic play to enhance children's development and
balance creativity with structure in the early childhood classroom. Early Child Development and Care,
179(8), 1041-1054.

Hendy, L., & Toon, L. (2001). Supporting drama and imaginative play in the early years. Philadelphia, MA:
Open University.

Logue, M. E., & Detour, A. (2011). ‘You be the bad guy’: A new role for teachers in supporting children's
dramatic play. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 13(1).

Roy, D., Baker, W., & Hamilton, A. (2015). Teaching the arts: Early Childhood and primary education.
(2nd ed.). Port Melbourne, VIC: Cambridge University Press.

Wright, S. (2003). Children's artistic development. In S. Wright (Ed.), The arts, young children, and
learning (pp. 102-125). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Judy Fromyhr
Judy Fromyhr
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