If you walked into a drama lesson at At King Athelstan you would see teachers using drama to enhance and contextualise learning. Children are encouraged to build their confidence by taking part in structured and well-crafted role play experiences linked to other aspects of the curriculum.
Whether it is: pretend play in Early Years, hot seating Beegu in Year 1, acting out the Beowulf and Grendel battle in Year 5 or Year 6 children in role as scientists and zoologists during an animal testing debate, drama can be found everywhere in our English curriculum. Through drama we encourage children to develop their communication and language skills to equip them with the correct terminology to coherently express their points of view, embellish their writing and articulate using new and exciting vocabulary.
Drama at King Athelstan encourages children to cooperate with others and develop their improvisation skills as well as understanding the world around them, developing their emotional intelligence and allowing them to empathise with characters in stories and important figures throughout history. We believe drama not only assists physical development, but develops creativity and nurtures friendships.
Guided reading: children use facial expressions, actions and expressive voices to enhance their understating of situations, characters’ experiences and new vocabulary.
English lessons: during writing lessons teachers use different acting techniques to help develop empathy for characters the children are writing about, enabling them to write from different perspectives; for example: hot seating, conscience corridor, teacher or pupil in role, freeze frames and tableaus.
Humanities and STEM subjects: children are encouraged to imagine what it is like for individuals or groups who lived in the past by taking part in WOW days; dressing up and acting in role as people from different eras that they are learning about, for example, The Ancient Egyptians in Year 4 and The Vikings in Year 5. In science you might see children acting out processes such as how blood and oxygen move through the body or how the Earth orbits the Sun to support their understanding.
Hook lessons: we often use drama to ‘hook’ children into new themes, creating a buzz of excitement to kick start a topic. For example: we create press conferences in the playground with children and teachers in role as police officers, witnesses and scientists to introduce newspaper genres and set up ‘crime scenes’ in classrooms to create a purpose for writing.
Dance is taught as part of our PE curriculum with a real focus on exploring movement to express feelings and contrasting emotions, changing the order of movements to create sequences, mirroring movements of others and using gesture to convey characters. Click here to find out more about dance in the PE curriculum.
Over the years we have had many after school dance clubs and workshops available for children to join (such as tap club, expressive dance and gymnastics) with opportunities to perform and also watch productions at the theatre. Year 3 also take part in Country Dancing, where they learn dances at school and then perform with other schools in Kingston and Richmond.
Performing is a big part of life at King Athelstan and we encourage all children to have a go; even if they are feeling shy, we develop their self-esteem in small steps to enable them to be successful and reach their own speaking, listening and performance targets. Performance poetry is weaved through our English curriculum and children are encouraged to read out loud during guided reading lessons to further develop their projection skills.
Performances to look out for:
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