The Speaking and Listening strand of the National curriculum framework contains specific drama objectives. However, circle time and PE lessons can be 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.
Drama in KS1 / EYFS
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.
Children will learn to recognise and respond to familiar stories which are used as a stimulus for drama work. They will also begin to take on individual roles in activities, developing self-reliance and confidence required for their future learning.
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.
- Physical games: to establish rules and codes of conduct
- Clapping games: to develop speaking and listening skills,
- Simple movement exercise: such as mirrors, robots, statues. This will increase spatial awareness and further develop concentration skills.
- Follow-my-leader and copying games: good for building confidence and introducing work in a non-threatening way.
Drama in KS2
Children at Key Stage 2 will role-play in a much more sophisticated manner, thus enabling them to explore contexts in a more focussed way. They are taught to respond to stimuli and to form opinions, give reasons and assess their work constructively. This age group can understand the concept of role-play and this is explored in a variety of ways and by using a number of different drama methods and activities.
Drama Methods and activities include:
- Conscious Alley: A character walks between two parallel-facing lines (the ‘alley’) whilst students in the lines present contrasting viewpoints
- Hot Seating: A technique for students to answer questions from the group whilst in role. Characters can be placed ‘on the Hot seat’ away from the drama, or respond from within it
- Choral movement: Students perform the same movement or gesture simultaneously.
- Mantle of the Expert: Students take on roles as experts in a particular field to explore issues and solutions. They become adults and/or specialists responsible for decision-making during a fictional (dramatic) scenario
- Physical Theatre: Physical theatre, at its simplest, is a form of theatre that puts emphasis on movement rather than dialogue. It is essentially anything that puts the human body at the centre of the storytelling process. As a result it’s often abstract in style, using movement in a stylised and representational way.
- Prepared improvisation: Improvisation is, essentially, the art of ‘making it up’ and Prepared Improvisation is being given the time to plan and discuss ideas before presenting or performing a piece of drama
- Role Play: Students assume the attitudes, actions, and discourse of another person, using their imaginations to speak, think and even feel like that character.
- Soundscapes: Students create sounds, either vocally, with instruments, or using their bodies or items to hand, to create the atmosphere of the place or environment where the drama is taking place.