Why is drama something you should consider for your child? What are the benefits?
I’d like to tell you a story. When we began our ages 4-7 Mini CLIPPERS in Streatham Hill last year, we had a lively group of little ones at our first session, who had an amazing adventure in their hunt for a missing toy dinosaur. We went to several planets, at least one imaginary land, and ended up finding him in the World of the Past where the real dinosaurs are still going about their business, it would seem. When we rescued him, we got in our car and came home. Granny was really pleased we’d found him.
There was one boy who came, however, who I’m going to call Jack. Jack just wasn’t sure about what we were up to. He kept his distance: watching us, assessing the situation, and refusing to actively join in. I wasn’t sure if he’d be back: drama isn’t for everyone after all. I was really pleased when he joined us again the next again week. That week, we made a story together which ended up being the basis for our end of term show: a friendly giraffe rescues some mice from a tree before some nasty crocodiles can eat them up.
Something resonated with Jack: here was something he could really get his teeth into. He took to playing the giraffe straight away and it was a transformation. The child his mother knew at home, the outgoing, creative force of nature who was a natural at drama and story-making in the living room, suddenly appeared in session: he was quite something as Mr Giraffe and his confidence has grown him into one of our most confident, pro-active members!
Giving children a platform for their ideas – their story telling – their imaginations – can be transformative. School is a huge transition for your child: reception to year one, for instance, is a much bigger deal than we can fathom at our grown-up distance: for instance, get down and look at a classroom from your child’s perspective, the scale is so different. Think about how all of the concepts we take for granted so easily in learning they have to come to terms with, and you begin to see how over-facing it might be. I always find it interesting to come across an adult who didn’t have a good time with those transitions: they remember their early years education: often people who had an easier time don’t. I know I remember it – and as a result I didn’t really learn much, or speak, for the first two years and I was consigned to the ‘bottom of the class’. I’ll never forget a teacher voicing their surprise to me when I went from the bottom to the top in a matter of weeks because I finally got a teacher that I didn’t find intimidating.
Modern early years teaching of course, is much better, and our teaching staff do an amazing job, there is no question of that, but the wonderful thing about an extra-curricular arts activity, is the devotion the leader can give you putting your child’s creativity at the centre of the process without the added burden our teaching staff have to evidence and evaluate thirty children, then move on to other areas of the curriculum due to the pressure of getting those boxes ticked.... An adult who can offer that extra time in a smaller setting, with less children, can shine a spotlight on your child and validate them through play as well as offering structured, exciting learning. This can only support your child’s development.
At CLIP we are all about giving your child a voice and watching them grow in confidence. Not only do we pass on drama and music skills that will help your child in other areas, such as listening, cooperating, speaking up and out, language development and confidence building, but crucially, there are no wrong answers in our work: everyone’s creative input is valuable, everyone’s ideas are valued and we take them all seriously. Create a solid foundation where your child feels they can speak out, that they will be listened to, and you’re handing them the keys to a future full of confidence and creative thinking.