Importance of Theatre and Drama for kids
World Theatre Day is on 27th March and let’s rejoice it unfolding its importance!
“We all must do theatre to find out who we are and to discover who we could become – Augusto Boal”
Theatre or drama is rather an unexplored territory when it comes to kids. It is more so considered only for youth who wish to make their career into filming, theatre, music and dance. Thinking theatre usually gives a feel, unfolding of an evening full of exquisite drama, which takes away us from the realities of life and delves deep into the entertainment.
We don’t take theatre more than an entertainment, which is actually a dishonest approach. Over the years of research and now after realising as a mama, Drama and theatre has an amazing influence on our kids, be it cognitive or physical or social or emotional influence. We’ve always wondered as to how can drama club or classes be beneficial to our children, since we have not experienced it ourselves. But go, take a trial class, observe the kids closely there and you’ll vouch on each and every word, I have written below.
It was only in the theatre that I lived – Oscar Wilde
And yes, thats true, the environment in the drama club is super infectious. Who says that a preschooler is not a right fit for the drama class? We often think that what will these kids enact or dance or sing, they’re too small for this. But I’m sure, you are not thinking the other way round that will help them develop ample skills for their life. No age is too less to unleash the true potential of Theatre and Drama, and to me, earlier the better as it has immense potential for a child’s development.
Let’s get to know the answer of : Is Drama and theatre important for my child?
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players – William Shakespeare
All the neurons of the brain are triggered when there is a balance of Right and left sides. While we push the development of left side, by encouraging kids for more analytical and logical thinking, more of reasoning, science and math, but there has to be balance for the right side as well. And that is attained by instilling creativity, imagination, art and music. Neuroscientists have already proved that both hemispheres of the brain should be developed in order to reach maximum potential a human brain has.
Self – Confidence :
What does your little child does? Role Play is what they actually engage in while performing a character. Learning how to wear the mask of the character and performing in front of the audience helps in building self-confidence. I have seen many kids who are shy when it comes to standing and speaking in front of a certain audience. And why to blame them, even we as adults, feel that anxiety during a speech or appraisals or during interviews as well. New age organisations have been employing new ways to bring out the creativity and remove anxiety in public appearance. And opting for drama is a great start towards this.
Drama and theatre clubs are the place where a child can lose his stage fright and hug on that prized self confidence throughout their life. Kids learn to trust new ideas, their imaginations, and their abilities to perform. Drama classes involve spontaneous performances and thinking as well. Various games which are included in these classes ask for some creative or imaginative lines on the part of child with spontaneity as well and then the words and the confidence flows in.
For the young class (age 4-7), they play certain games like , I am a tree, wherein one kid starts saying, that “I am a tree”, now the next kid needs to continue as in ” I am water, running beneath the roots” or something similar. And slowly this Tree takes the form of many other things, as the start can begin with many objects as “Stage , art, colours and many more”. This evokes the spontaneity, new thoughts, enhanced knowledge, appreciation as a group and thus confidence in the child.
Einstein had once said ” Imagination is more important than knowledge”.
At every stage a child needs imagination to create, think and grow. I sometimes leave my child with nothing, no toys and then in few minutes, I see him coming up with some altogether new imaginations and thoughts.
This is what a theatre helps to instil. Kids explore artistic expression of themselves, they deep dive into their and friends characters and think of various ways to bring it alive. The games that are played in these classes ignites those imaginations and makes a child more creative in life. Creative kids can always be new thought initiators in their lives and these days, Out of the box ideas, new concepts are appreciated right from childhood. It helps a child have more effective thought process and better triggering of their right sides of the brain.
There is nothing right or wrong in drama, its all about imagining and creating something interesting!
Understanding different characters in multiple plays helps them to understand what Empathy is. Most of the kids plays are with certain morals involved. Theatre is a place wherein kids are exposed to numerous hard situations of real life and how to react in these situations correctly is what promotes the feeling of empathy and compassion in a child.
Team work & Cooperation :
Many children in their early years are involved in themselves rather than being a part of the group. As kids grow up, they find it difficult to start a conversation when in a new environment and sometimes this nature keeps them away from making friends and being social. Drama classes teach kids how to work with everybody in the group.
Many exercises that are done in drama classes are in the form of “group activity” and “team work”. When our kids be a part of these activities, they very easily learn to gel with others, they try to cooperate with their team, try to have faith in team decisions (which might be at the cost of sacrificing their own decisions also) and emerge as a winner. This strengthens their bonds and helps them become more social and believe in good spirited team work with a sense of “trust” in their heart and minds.
Friendship goals :
Many children these days struggle with making new friends. Drama and Theatre is something which can never happen in isolation. When children are engaged in various exercises, games, activities which involve mutual talks, decisions, thinking, they automatically develop the bond of friendship. They learn to make friends apart from the school friends and that helps kids socialize more.
Speaking : Vocabulary and Linguistic development
Drama and theatre is a real world. While stories can sometimes makes you visualize, drama, makes you act. And when you act and perform, children easily associate with new words and their meanings in real life. New words, various phrases, tenses, their expressions, become more significant to the child and this helps in developing the vocabulary to a great extent.
Further, Drama focuses a lot on speaking, not plain vanilla speaking but it involves various facial expressions. They learn to modulate their tones, deliver the dialogues with right pronunciations. And all this helps them become a great narrator and improves the linguistic skills of a child.
Listening and concentration :
Drama and theatre focuses lot on communication as a whole, and the performance cannot be effective in the absence of listening skills of a child.
Acting and performing involves active listening and this listening involves, hearing, responding and then performing. Various acts also involve different languages at times, and its the right age when kids grasp various languages while listening and enacting. This helps them overcome the linguistic barriers and also enhances concentration of a child. It has been studied in various researches that drama and theatre enhances concentration and memory of a child.
Read daily activities that help in fine motor skills development !
Cultural conglomeration :
Not just a language, various plays involve many cultural conglomeration. Be it regional or foreign culture, kids get to know many traditions. This as a whole results in respect for all races, communities in the mind and heart of a child. And what they learn during childhood, usually gets carried in the adulthood. We can definitely expect kids to be more tolerant and less prejudiced when they have been brought up in such a cultural mix.
Fun & love for art :
End of the day, Drama and theatre is all about fun. It involves elements as play, laugh, humour, listening music, dancing and all of this acts as a stress buster. Kids love when things are done in the way of fun and this is what Drama is all about for kids. It is a learning hidden in the fun.
Importance of music for kids would interest you further, click here to read it!
So, parents, what do you say? Just try attending drama and theatre class, go for the trial sessions, observe the kids enrolled there seriously. I’m damn sure, you’ll find that all the points I have highlighted are true. Let kids have all the skill development in the form of fun. That’s how they learn to appraise their lives!
I would love to know about your views wrt drama and theatre for kids. Did you enrol your child into any such classes? What differences did you observe in your child?