The world is a busy place and TV, videos, iPads and computers fill the day leaving less time for dramatic play. School-age children learn best from hands on experiences and dramatic play can be a fun way to learn.
Think about what is interesting to your group. Try gathering props and involving the children in planning. All of these things make dramatic play exciting! They give children a chance to grow, connect, and increase language. “By age 6, most children, provided with opportunities to learn and practice these skills, have a foundation in becoming able to manage their thoughts, words, and actions. However, they still need teaching and practice in the area of self-regulation for optimal learning and development. Role playing and dramatization (especially of stories that include character conflicts or moral dilemmas) can enhance self-regulation and prevent some conflicts.” (NAEYC)
Creating a classroom that includes dramatic play helps children become successful. As an early childhood educator, you have the ability to change your classroom environment. Here are some things to ask yourself:
- Can children develop drama/theater productions?
- Are dramatic play props changed often to spark interest?
- Are dramatic play props appropriate for school-age children, or is the furniture and clothing more appropriate for preschool children?
- Is there enough space for the children to have rich dramatic play experiences?
- Are there opportunities for the children to perform for the group and/or their parents (magic show, create a movie, talent show, etc.)?
- Do children create their own props to enhance their play?
- Do children read and/or write their own story and then act the story out?
Additional information can be found at:
Why Children Need Play