When you consider drama clubs and classes for children, what conclusions do you draw? Do you think of a room full of confident, extrovert young people with ruthless ambitions for Hollywood or television? Has your own child expressed an interest in the peforming arts and been badgering to go? Have you spotted what you think might be a hidden talent, and can't bear to see it wasted - or do you have a realistic feeling that your child is probably not destined for stardom, but you are wondering whether drama club just might be beneficial in other ways?
What Types of Children Go To Drama Classes?
In short, all sorts. My child has attended a drama club for the past five years, and I would say that in general, the class is filled with all different types of children. Most, I would say, are there for the enjoyment, rather than any lofty dreams or ambitions. At the club my child attends, the emphasis is certainly on learning drama through fun. There is no pressure, the environment is informal and the teaching both positive and inspiring. Of course, all drama clubs and schools are different - some are more structured than others - but I can certainly say that my experience of my own child's drama class is that the children are not competitive but quite the opposite. They are all having fun through drama and self-expression.
Self-Expression Learned Through Drama Can Improve Your Child's Life Skills
That's right. Attending drama classes can provide your child with many skills that will be of use to them throughout life. It is certainly not all about acting and dancing, though of course these elements form the basics of a drama class. Perhaps one of the most important skills your child can learn from drama is self confidence.
Some children are obviously shy and not at all confident about coming forward and standing out. However, improving self confidence is something that many children can benefit from, even those who, on the surface, may already appear to be quite sure of themselves. Think how many adults are gripped with varying levels of anxiety when faced, for example, with giving a speech or hosting a meeting. Even being invited for a job interview can heighten the nerves of many of us, especially as it is not uncommon these days for some companies to undertake interviews involving role play and thinking on your feet.
Drama can help your child to acquire skills to help in these situations because games and exercises used in many drama classes nuture spontaneity and the ability to 'think on your feet'. For instance, when my child was in the class for 5 - 7 year olds, one of the exercises was to pass a large ball around a circle. Each child, upon being passed the ball, had to say what the ball actually was - the idea was to be as imaginative as possible and all ideas were worthy and accepted, even the most way out. In fact, in drama 'way out' is often the best.
Though a very simple exercise, and only one of many for the younger children, this procedure really does encourage a child to think on their feet and use their imaginations, which is something they can carry through to many elements of life. And let's be honest, how many adults would be lost for words when faced with a similiar dilemma.
Part Of A Group
Some children are great at working in groups, and some are more focused on their own thing. Fundamentally, a drama class will teach your child how to be part of a group, and how to work with other children within that group. Some exercises may be solo, but for the most part, will rely on the cooperation of others.
This can be excellent for children who are not so good at fitting in and putting themselves forward within a group, as drama classes encourage input from every child and not just the confident few, A drama exercise, whether it be a fun, creative game or a solid piece of acting or dance, will give your child a platform to really come out of themselves and nuture their own imaginations. At my child's drama class, all ideas are welcomed and encouraged so that children have a sense of positivity which, again, brings about self confidence and self worth.
But learning to work in a group is not only beneficial to children who are shy or less forthcoming. Some children are already very confident, perhaps showing many signs of extroversion, yet can still struggle with team work. Team work primarily teaches children to work together; to consider the ideas and thoughts of others, sometimes sacrificing their own ideas for those of their peers.
The nature of a drama class means that your child will be working for most of the session with other children of around the same age. This provides an excellent opportunity to make new friendships as the class itself provides common ground for relationships to flourish. Children who sometimes struggle to form friendships at school may find this easier - the very nature of most schools means that for a significant part of the day pupils are working on their own. Even when pupils are participating in group work at school, it will often be the case that one or two children overtake the entire operation, leaving quieter, less confident children no room for input.
In my child's drama group they focus a lot on creating sketches within small groups, which are then performed to the others. Everyone creates their own character; their own part of the scene. One of the most recent sketches which my child had great fun peforming was a news flash. The children were not given any guidelines for this, so it was an excellent opportunity for them to express their creativity. There is no 'right' or 'wrong', and the drama coaches are great at getting everyone involved without pressure.
Some drama clubs put on many productions throughout the year, some may only perform one. At my own child's club, his age range (8 - 10) only put on one main production for family and friends, whereas the older children put on many more. The emphasis on productions can vary considerably from club to club, so if this element is important to you and your child, you should enquire before joining up. The productions at my child's club are mainly about fun and enjoyment, and gaining experience of being on the stage. The children do not have huge scripts, though they do have some lines - the of majority of the script is led by the older children.
Some children may feel nervous about performing in front of a large audience - my own child does, even though he is confident in the weekly classes. A certain amount of nerves is very common, however. Even on the big stage, well known actors can experience nerves after years or practice, especially before a live performance - some even forget their lines. Once the performance is under way, most children just get into the swing of things and really enjoy it. Afterwards, children feel a sense of achievement and pride which is excellent for their esteem. After all, in life we often have to push through certain barriers in order to achieve our potential and get the most out of life - it isn't any different for children.
Is Drama Class Right For My Child?
Drama class can benefit any child, teaching them wonderful skills that they can carry through life and put to use in many areas. Drama instills creativity and self expression as well as nourishing the imagination. It can teach a child to 'think outside the box', which is a great skill for success in future endeavours. Drama helps children to think or their feet and helps them to both stand out from the crowd and to work within a group. Perhaps one of the most important skills it brings is an increased level of self confidence, plus the opportunity to make friends outside their usual circuit.
Drama is a very versatile hobby and in the main it should bring fun and enjoyment to your child's life. Some drama groups focus on a more structured approach, more of a stage school method of teaching. Other drama groups are much more informal. If you are looking for a drama club for your child, then it is useful to investigate several in your area before committing to one. Most drama clubs will let you sample a one-off session before committing to the whole term, so that your child can test the waters and decide if it is really for them. I would say, however, that there is a drama club for everyone, whether you have a child who dreams of future stardom, or simply want to find a fun environment to nuture your child's self confidence. After all, 'Life is a stage,' so to speak...
Anne Chanco on February 10, 2017:
Hi, I have a 5 year old boy who is very into music/dancing etc. He is currently taking piano lessons and is wanting to take baking classes as well. He is very sociable, so I wanted him to discover more of his talents, he is not camera shy at all, at this point I am debating whether to enroll him in an Acting class or a theater class? Please let me know of your opinion. Thanks
Yu Seung (Came from Korea!) on September 07, 2013:
I enjoy drama, I love it
Eleanor's Words (author) from Far and Wide on June 12, 2011:
You're very welcome, Leile, thank you for reading :)
Leile from Silver Spring on June 12, 2011:
Hi Eleanor's Words, I'm currently creating a program for children. This info is so helpful. Thanks.
Eleanor's Words (author) from Far and Wide on May 11, 2011:
Hi Drama Queen, you're welcome and thanks for reading. I really hope your petition is successful and that the drama club for 7th and 8th graders is set up soon :)
Drama Queen on May 09, 2011:
Thanks! This is exactly what I needed to get my petition started. I'm trying to convince the middle school principal to open a dramaclub for 7th and 8th graders.Sixth grade drama club is so much fun! I couldn't stop!
Eleanor's Words (author) from Far and Wide on July 18, 2010:
Pamela, thank you for your great comments. I totally agree with your point about drama bringing a community together - you're right, even the smallest places have theaters, and theaters and the performing arts have been around for centuries as well. I definitely prefer the 'pretend' kind of drama to the real kind, and at my son's drama club, when they put on a performance they always have real music as well.
Pamela Dapples from Just Arizona Now on July 14, 2010:
I really enjoyed this article. My daughter loved drama classes in high school.
I agree with all the points you have made. Participation in drama can be very useful for many reasons and can be very fulfilling.
Drama is also important to the community. Even some of the smallest towns in North America have live theater (or theatre, as we say in Canada.) It brings a town together. Say, have you heard of the Road to Avonlea series? It's based on a town on Prince Edward Island, but there is a town in cold, cold Saskatchewan named after the Avonlea of the book and tv series. And the little town has a fabulous little drama community, too.
We all need drama in our lives -- the pretend kind -- with real music to accompany it.
Eleanor's Words (author) from Far and Wide on July 12, 2010:
Thanks Money Glitch, I appreciate your comments. Yes, there are definitely benefits for any child, and probably for adults as well! Thanks for reading!
Duchess OBlunt, Thank you for reading and for your comments. I have sat in on my child's drama class before, on a special day when parents could participate. We had to join in with all kinds of things, including a lot of improvisation, it was very creative but a little daunting for us parents who had never done it before. All the children, though, were really good at coming through with their ideas. None of them held back at all, and I think this was because most of them had been attending the class for several months at least. I could really see how much more confidence these children might have as they get older.
Duchess OBlunt on July 12, 2010:
I have to agree with you. I have a sister who is by nature very shy. She became involved with drama classes and I truly believe it helped her come out of her shell a bit.
Good hub and congratulations on the hubnugget nomination.
Money Glitch from Texas on July 11, 2010:
Hhhmmm, interesting pointers about drama classes. I had always thought about it for kids that wanted to be in "the arts." Never thought about the overall benefits for any child. Thanks for sharing that insight. :) Congrats on being selected as one of this week's HubNuggets Wannabee Nominees. Good luck to you!
Eleanor's Words (author) from Far and Wide on July 11, 2010:
ripplemaker - wow, thanks for letting me know about the hubnugget nomination, I hadn't realized! Glad to hear you're enjoying the musical theater group. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on July 10, 2010:
I have joined a musical theater group and I have seen how acting, singing and dancing has helped my self confidence. So I say go for drama class! :)
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