What can theater do for a preschooler? Well, it can enhance reading and writing skills, help early learners in imagining the unimaginable and foster inquisitiveness, to name a few. The ‘Theater in Preschool’ initiative started out in Europe, however, now the U.S. and Asian countries are not far behind either in pushing the boundaries.
I won’t argue about the significance of literacy, but research proves that arts also have a substantial significance in an early learner’s learning milestones. Regular involvement in theater and arts radically improves scholastic performance. Children who are constantly involved in theater are less likely to underperform at school and are more involved in community service. And these facts don’t just apply to well-to-do children; they apply to children from varied socio-economic backgrounds.
Amy Hogan, creative director at a children’s theater said – “I have been associated with preschools for past 20 odd years and I have personally seen how theater helps in creating bright, brave and confident children. Theater is a great means to connect a child’s head to his or her heart.”
Theater and reading:
Theater and reading are connected in more ways than one when young learners read a narrative and act out a scene, they understand how a scene from a play can bring a narrative off a piece of paper and bring it to life. Not only is this activity useful for the bookworms it is also very useful for the disinclined readers.
Theater and concentration:
Theater sets off the imagination while increasing the attention span of young learners. Today’s children are obsessed with the idiot-box and other destructive gadgets; they need constant entertainment and change. Reading and learning lines from a script, practicing them with their peers and trying to remember their part – all of this requires concentration, thus making theater an important tool for early learning.
Theater and imaginative play:
Theater is the most interesting form of art as it completely involves the participant: mentally, physically, vocally, emotionally and socially. As actors, children play different characters, and in the process, they get to learn about and understand the lifestyle, principles and troubles of people from different walks of life.
Theater and team spirit:
In essence, theater is a collective art; every actor is essential to the entire production. Working together, playing different roles in a musical or an adaption of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, can teach children how to work cooperatively in a team.
Theater and preschools:
The best preschools and play school franchise are always looking for different ways to enrich their classes and classroom activities. There was a time when the focus remained only on other art forms like – music, dance and visual arts. Theater was an odd omission in many preschools, however with preschool accreditation agencies like QualityKG and their inventive preschool accreditation standards things are changing now and theater is rapidly becoming a part of preschool development programs because in early years children are more inclined towards role-playing, exploring storylines and, reading and performing different stories.
The right way to do it:
‘Theater in preschool’ initiative was conceptualized with the intention of providing artistic theater opportunities for preschoolers. The right way to do it is not by being too meticulous about it, rather by focusing on providing opportunities for exploring pantomiming, and storytelling. In the end, the creative theater programs will help in improving the academic, emotional, and social development milestones of preschoolers.