Home.
ArtExpress.
Training.
Staff.
Activities.
Newsletter.
Gallery.
Links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated 9/20/02.

Dramatic Play




Dramatic play permits children to fit the reality of the world into their own interests and knowledge. One of the purest forms of symbolic thought available to young children, dramatic play contributes strongly to the intellectual development of children (Piaget, 1962). Symbolic play is a necessary part of a child's language development (Edmonds, 1976).
Drama: What It Is and What It Isn't

Drama is the portrayal of life as seen from the actor's view. In early childhood, drama needs no written lines to memorize, structured behavior patterns to imitate, nor is an audience needed. Children need only a safe, interesting environment and freedom to experiment with roles, conflict, and problem solving. When provided with such an environment, children become interested in and will attend to the task at hand and develop their concentration (Way, 1967). Opportunities for dramatic play that are spontaneous, child-initiated, and open-ended are important for all young children. Because individual expression is key, children of all physical and cognitive abilities enjoy and learn from dramatic play and creative dramatics. In early childhood, the term dramatic play is most frequently used and the process is the most important part, not the production. Dramatic play expands a child's awareness of self in relation to others and the environment. Drama is not the production of plays usually done to please adults rather than children (Wagner, 1976).

Elements of Drama in the Early Childhood Classroom

  • Dramatic play includes role-playing, puppetry, and fantasy play. It does not require interaction with another.
  • Socio-dramatic play is dramatic play with the additional component of social interaction with either a peer or teacher (Mayesky, 1988; Smilansky, 1968).
  • Creative dramatics involves spontaneous, creative play. It is structured and incorporates the problem solving skills of planning and evaluation. Children frequently reenact a scene or a story. Planning and evaluating occurs in creative dramatics (Chambers, 1970, 1977)

This chapter also contains sections on Developmental Stages of Dramatic Play, Ideas for Using Dramatic Play in the Classroom, and Sample Activities