Reading Reflection: Chapter 8

Access: LimitedShow Details
  • This Doc can be read by: Anyone
  • This Doc can be edited by: The Doc author only
  • Comments are visible to: Anyone
  • Comments can be posted by: Logged-in Users
  • History can be viewed by: Anyone
Hide Details

Reading Response
Chapter 8
In this chapter the writer brings attention to the need to integrate the theatre arts in the developmental learning activities of the early childhood environment. By infusing elements of drama and storytelling (puppets, acting out motions, pretending, taking on roles), early childhood educators capitalize on natural propensity for play and pretending. Integrating such elements can engage a wide array of avenues for participation. Different vignettes illustrated how educators include stories real or made up, drama and play to capture the attention of and include the participation of children of all levels of abilities.
Children are seen as natural story tellers and should be encouraged to share their stories. Stories are a way to share our experiences of the world, use our imagination, and share with the listener. By telling stories we give children a model and a license to go further in sharing and extending their own stories. This reminds a group of kindergarten with whom I worked at a Yeshiva, they were always telling me what happened at home, to them or in their classroom as soon as I pick them up for a 30 minute enrichment activity. By giving them the opportunity to talk I was able to observe their use of language and learn so much about their families. . Each child can contribute in his or her own way, thus story telling can be inclusive of children who have a wide spectrum of abilities and needs.
Teacher pretend play activity and children pretend play provide opportunities for both children and adults to play the role of initiator and responder as they collectively create a storytelling classroom culture. Children can use puppets to express themselves or act out a story which helps to build the self-confidence at an early age. The writer emphasized that theater arts activities should not focus on getting children to do any particular thing or act in any particular way, but should be spontaneous, whatever their initial way and level of participation, it should be accepted. In planning activities the teacher should focus of a long term goal of enabling all participants to become more proficient of working together and learning the art form. Some key elements to guide teachers and teaching artist in creating theater arts for young children are:
• Encouraging environment that accepts a range of abilities/behavior
• Participation via multiple modalities-listening, observing, speaking, moving
• Use of consistent structure
• Improvising by building on children’s ideas, interest and initiations
• Behavioral expectations/directions are embedded within the activities
• Adults play and pretend with children and collaborate with one another

The scenario of Ms. Nora’s weekly interactive storytelling is a teaching point for me because of the engagement and inclusiveness of her sessions with her students. She invites her students to participate by listening, speaking, pretending and moving. Then she leads them in an array of imagination exercises and drama warm-ups, and gives each an opportunity to tell their own short story. By accepting each child’s ability and willingness to participate, she simultaneously creates expectation and an environment where each child will feel a part of the group and improve in their medium of expression. When students feel acceptance in their learning environment they will rise to the occasion and use the process to create products beyond expectations.
The use of drama with young children is inclusive of all both verbal and non-verbal students such as Paul and Melanie who were encouraged to participate in a way that they are comfortable with. According to Toye and Prenville (2000) children who show reluctance should be allowed to observe, at first if that is what they want to do, and eventually they will be more engaged in the drama. Bailey( 1993) accounts of her use of drama in her work with young children draws attention to a gamut of skills that can be developed through drama; which include, listening, eye contact, awareness of body in space, physical coordination physical expressiveness, verbal expressiveness, focus and concentration, flexibility and problem solving, social interaction and the development of self- esteem. The achievement of these skills is supportive of the goals of early childhood education. By integrating the creative arts in the early childhood curriculum increases the child’s propensity to play and become more self-regulated as he or she becomes engaged in activities. This chapter has provided ideas and resources that are practicable for teachers to integrate theater arts to facilitate a lively learning environment for young minds to flourish creatively.