Thinking it Through: Developing Thinking and Language Skills Through Drama Activities

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This is not playing and children quickly differentiate between pure play and work being disguised as play. Play is not wasted time, but rather time spent building new knowledge from previous experience. Researchers may choose definitions of play or work based on:. There are three main groups of play theories: [5]. The way that children learn through play is culturally specific "as result of differences in childrearing beliefs, values, and practices.

Most western cultures would agree with the previously described definition of play where play is enjoyable, have no extrinsic goals, no prescribed learning that must occur, is spontaneous and voluntary, involves active engagement on the part of the player, involves an element of make-believe.

The Importance of Pretend Play

For example, the Yucatec Maya do not have emotional aspects in make-believe play, and most of their play is reality based. Yucatec Maya commonly learn through "Intent Community Participation," an approach different from that commonly found among middle class European American families. Unlike children from the U. Pretend play is considered a form of lying because children are not representing something that actually happens. For example, a Mayan mother told an ethnographer that she would "tolerate" her child pretending that the leaves in the bowl was a form of food.

For example, children go through the steps of making tortillas, weaving, and cleaning clothing. This relates to not having Age Segregation. Unlike children of the industrialized middle-class who play mainly with children of the same age, The Yucatec Mayan children engage with all ages, exploring activities of daily life. Different cultures and communities encourage children to play in different ways.

For instance, some cultures may prevent parents from joining in play, prohibit children from receiving toys, or may expect children to play in mixed age groups away from adults. They may be expected to grow out of play by 5 or in middle childhood. Different age groups have different cognitive capabilities. Their culture also emphasizes learning through observation. Children are active participators by observing and modeling activities that are useful to the community.

Reasons for Incorporating Drama in the ESL Classroom

In the first half of the twentieth century, Susan Isaacs introduced the study of play. However, experts such as Gunilla Dahlberg et al.

Fleer's work with Australian aboriginal children challenges Western experts as to whether it is ideal to encourage play. She suggests that, "the children she studied did not play, and that it is not necessary for them to do so". Play is sufficiently important to the United Nations that it has recognized it as a specific right for all children. Play also contributes to brain development.

Evidence from neuroscience shows that the early years of a child's development from birth to age six set the basis for learning, behavior and health throughout life. Learning occurs when children play with blocks, paint a picture or play make-believe.

Drama Worksheets

During play children try new things, solve problems, invent, create, test ideas and explore. Children need unstructured, creative playtime; in other words, children need time to learn through their play. According to Pascel, "Play is serious business for the development of young learners.


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This is such an important understanding. It has been acknowledged that there is a strong link between play and learning for young children, especially in the areas of problem solving, language acquisition, literacy, numeracy and social, physical, and emotional skills.

Young children actively explore their environment and the world around them through learning-based play. When they engage in sociodramatic play, they learn how to cope with feelings, how to bring the large, confusing world into a small, manageable size; and how to become socially adept as they share, take turns and cooperate with each other.

As children learn through purposeful, quality play experience, they build critical basic skills for cognitive development and academic achievement.

Drama Worksheets

These include verbalization, language comprehension, vocabulary, imagination, questioning, problem-solving, observation, empathy, co-operation skills and the perspectives of others. These social skills are also a vital part of language development. Language is so much more than simply spoken words. Critical thinking is the ability to analyze and sift through information in order to make sense of it and apply it in the context of the environment. This skill involves the part of the front part of the brain that manages attention, memory, control, and flexibility.

Having a child point out that they always have storytime before naptime is an example of her using critical thinking. Children learn numeracy and literacy skills through playing with various toys and books and demonstrate their thinking as they talk about what they are doing. Playing with shapes, counting naptime mats out for each child or pages in a book, using illustrations in books to support comprehension — all are examples of the important learning this is happening during both free and guided play time. Physical play also helps develop important motor skills as well as helps your child work through stress and crankiness.

First children develop large motor skills like running, throwing and pedaling. Then, fine motor skills are developed such as writing, coloring, and buttoning. Skipping takes balance, climbing monkey bars builds strength, and sports activities involve coordination. Carefully stacking blocks into towers is not only learning about gravity and balance but also developing hand-eye coordination. When your child is able to feed and dress himself, he will gain a sense of independence which connects directly to the next benefit of play.

One of the most important outcomes of play is the development of confidence in even the youngest child.


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Without confidence, the ability to take risks and try new things is compromised. As babies, we gain confidence by learning that our needs are important to our parents or other caregivers. Young toddlers use adults as their security homebase from which to explore and learn and they gain confidence as they uncover the many things they can do all by themselves. By the time children reach preschool age, they know they can still trust the adults in their lives, but they also have the confidence they need to take charge.

However, do encourage them to read dramatically , modeling as necessary. Watch a brief clip of a movie without the sound on.

Fun activities that help develop language learning in children

Have students write the dialogue for it and act it out. Have students, either singly or in groups, first act out that emotion then put words to the emotion. What would a stapler say if it could talk? Or an apple? Have students write monologues with inanimate objects as the character. A monologue is a short scene with just one character talking, either addressing the audience, God, or himself or herself.

Have them introduce the character to the class, explaining what interests them about their character. Have students act out short scenes without dialogue. Put students in groups of two or three, and assign the characters and the situation to the groups, perhaps using 3x5 index cards. Give a time limit of two to three minutes per scene.