Classroom teachers and drama educators: all you need to implement this program in your classroom is a group of students, a space large enough in which to move comfortably, a signaling device, and you!
MISSIONThis curriculum is a first step to introducing the youngest students to drama and creative expression through movement, verbalization, and role-playing; it is the initial grade addressed in our Scope and Sequence Curriculum. This program lets teachers implement and experiment with the creative process and the basic skills of drama, while stimulating learning and integrating drama with other curricular areas. Teachers are supported through training and can receive help by contacting the author.
PROGRAM GOALSThe Goals of this Program are to enable students to:
- develop poise, initiative, and ways to express their ideas clearly;
- work cooperatively with others;
- gain experience in, and an aesthetic appreciation for, Drama as an art form;
- learn the vocabulary of the art form;
- develop skills of evaluation, self-management and audience response;
- understand the cultural, social, and historical significance of drama/theater;
- understand the artistic process, the craft processes, and the tools of drama/theater.
- gain experience with this art form as a teaching methodology;
- learn to incorporate the knowledge and skills of the art form into their daily teaching;
- and integrate Drama work with the teaching of other curricular subjects.
UNDERLYING BELIEFSThese are a few of the underlying philosophies that govern this Program. These statements should give you insight into the development of the curriculum.
- Drama is for ALL growing humans: Infant to Senior Adult.
- Any lesson can be modified and used for and with any age older than its original intent.
- This Program uses "drama" for Kindergarten – Third grade. (A minor transition to "theater" is introduced in grades 4-6. A solid introduction to "theater" is introduced in grades 7-8. This follows the development of the children in their grasp and understanding of theater as an art form.)
- Words like “pantomime” are used in theater not drama. The word "imitation" is used to refer to the act of creating images using movement and/or sound (voice).
- Anyone who has been a child and who has played can learn to teach drama.
Organizing Philosophy of this Drama/Learning Program by Karen Erickson
Drama is an organized exploration into self-awareness and self-expression using movement, rhythm, verbalization, and role-playing. It creates an environment that allows the participant to safely explore his/her own feelings, behavior, and ideas. Students learn to create new perspectives from familiar actions, stretch the imagination, and share experiences that work as a springboard to group interaction and cooperation.
Drama is a natural process through which human beings can explore and expand their own ideas and potential. Drama is process centered. Theater is product centered. Drama is for all growing humans. Theater is for the talented. Drama is a basic human art form out of which the more complex art of theater has sprung. Drama is where we begin so that theater might evolve
Read the PDF for an overview of the Philosophy of the Erickson Drama/Learning Program. This will clarify the site's intent. A special welcome to our subscribers: this FREE download does not count against your monthly limit.
One of the top six questions asked by teachers learning to integrate drama is:
"Do I have to do a play?"
The short answer is NO, and here is the longer explanation why:
Drama is about the process of experiencing the art form and sharing the experience with co-participants. Drama isn’t used to create a performance for an audience; rather we strive to integrate Drama because it builds naturally on our ability to play. With play, we can build powerful memory connections. Drama is improvisational and, since it is not for an outside audience, there are less formal structures and performance rules. You will only see participants, not an audience, in any of our images on this website. Pair Drama with each academic subject to enhance learning outcomes.
Theater, or creating a play, tells a story for the benefit of an audience. Theater focuses on performance as the end product and can be VERY difficult to integrate, as time must be spent on memorizing lines, rehearsing, and gathering props, sets, etc. Performing plays is a wonderful endeavor; we have even included some play scripts on our site. However, doing plays is NOT the same as drama integration. We encourage you to provide students with both drama AND theater opportunities, when possible. You understand now, right?
Download this PDF for a snapshot of the difference between drama and theater. A special welcome to our subscribers: this FREE download does not count against your monthly limit.
"Drama is where we begin so that theater might evolve."
Here are some tips for getting the most out of this curriculum:
- FIRST, read through this overview and general materials. It won't take that long. There's no reason to skip it. This is a curriculum guide and does not contain all of the theory and history that you find in textbooks. Choose a good text on early childhood drama to accompany this curriculum guide because you should find out as much as you can about the subject. Familiarize yourself with the Drama Learning Levels.
- SECOND, read through the lessons. Make notes in the blank column. Add other strategies in the "hints and strategies" column you think might be needed. If time is a problem, divide the lessons into shorter segments. Look up the vocabulary words in the glossary. When you are ready to teach the lessons, take the "LESSON AT A GLANCE" page and use it to teach from if you feel you can get by without the full lesson.
- THIRD, when you have taught the lesson, make notes in the blank column next to the lessons. Highlight items from the lesson you forgot and want to remember to include next time. Draw a line through anything you want to eliminate the next time you teach the lesson.
- FOURTH, begin downloading activities, lessons, stories, and other ideas to continue building your own drama/theater program, or curriculum for your students or participants. Do it your way.
- FIFTH, have fun. If you need support, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you need a lesson developed to integrate with something you are teaching, we are here to assist with that as well.
Move to the next section on Character Education for Kindergarten -->
Pre-K and Kindergarten Curriculum
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