The Christmas Musical performed last December set the stage for the second term of Performing Arts at MBTS, and our Art classes and classrooms have been transformed into spaces where the children can unfold, pretend, experiment and have fun with each other. Warm-ups, improvisation games and pantomime are regular and integral components of every class, and the children’s excitement and enthusiasm emphasize how important these opportunities are for self-expression.
The benefits of studying Drama are wide and varied. Studying the Performing Arts engages with the creative side of the brain and gives balance to an education that is often engaged in an ocean of theoretical subjects, and allows an avenue to develop cognitive abilities that complement study in other disciplines.
Through Drama, students gain important life skills as they learn the value of critical feedback, positive and constructive. We always start Drama class by discussing Safe Space and how we need to feel that we can express ourselves without the fear of being judged. I mostly find this is a somewhat foreign subject to the children, who seem to rarely encounter or experience this at the school. Feeling self-conscious is also less of an issue in the years preceding adolescence, and as such, the elementary years are an ideal period for exploring Drama.
Creative expression is a great way to build self-confidence, and offers a forum in which children can explore a wide range of emotions ranging from anger to happiness. Drama builds confidence, giving students beneficial public speaking opportunities wherein they learn to approach situations in an array of different manners. It can often help introverted and reserved children, with some students learning to “find their voice” while studying drama. Through dramatic expression and role-playing, they may discover they are problem solvers or natural leaders.
Drama provides an essential outlet to all children, and can help define a child’s growing sense of independence and interdependence. I can only hope that our children take away something useful and inspiring from their every encounter in Drama.