naeyc fun

On Thursday, as promised, we presented a small portion of our pedagogy at naeyc.  A very small portion.  With only an hour and with so much potential material, it was really hard to figure out what to include.  We ended up focusing on the actual creation of the picturebook play and using it as a way to introduce many other aspects of the technique.  We discovered this had both its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage being that we set out with a goal and met it: we focused on “saying yes” (as the title of the workshop promised) along with guiding/coaching and trusting oneself.  These all came up on their own as part of the creative process.

The disadvantage being that we discovered what we forgot to include…the purpose of doing PictureBook Plays.  We were so focused on sharing the practical portions that we neglected the theory.  All it needed was a few sentences and we could have at least covered the basic theory to really drive the importance of process-oriented theatre home.

So, for those of you who have been following this blog, or, better yet, were at our presentation, here’s a late-night primer for you.

Process-Oriented Theatre is an essential art form in the early childhood classroom because:

  • Given the chance to make their own choices and decisions about all aspects of a story (character, blocking, words, sounds, physical engagement,props,etc.) children are given power over their own worlds and begin to understand that they also have power over the real world.
  • With the self-confidence of empowerment comes the ability to make new and challenging choices in life.
  • Students learn to communicate with their peers and teachers as collaborators and creators.
  • As an audience member (and scene partner) we develop the ability to generously appreciate the artistry of others.
  • Students develop empathy.
  • Making sense of a story translates very easily into making sense of the world.
  • Children deserve to have their artistic decisions and creations treated with respect as essential works of art.  As children who are respected by others, they grow into people who respect others.

Trust me, this is all written somewhat haphazardly late at night after playing hooky so we could take our very patient three-year old assistant to the white house, monuments and museums.  We’ve said it much better in our book.  But it’s enough, for now, because we share this pedagogy not simply to give you pro-active ways to include theatre in your curriculum but because we believe theatrical opportunities are essential for the development of whole children.

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