Let’s Play: Why Theatre is Important for Young Learners – VP of Curriculum Dee McDonald
The month of September is one of the most exciting times for me. Our children return to schools and FasTracKids centers to reset the circadian rhythm of life that was left behind during lax periods of school holidays. I especially enjoy September because it marks one of my favorite subjects in the FasTrack® Fundamentals and Tots programs: Speech, Drama and Art.
Children are naturally imaginative and curious. When we combine their inquisitiveness with performance, we get a natural result of high energy and creativity that FasTracKids classes are known for.
There are plenty of practical and developmental reasons to introduce theatre into a child’s life. Cathlyn Melvin, founder of Compass Theatre in Wisconsin, USA shares 5 reasons why theatre is important to children. The number one reason on her list is:
“They’ll walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. They’ll walk ten. They’ll walk a hundred. When a child reads a character, they’re forced to think, why would he have made that choice? What’s he trying to get from the person he’s talking to? How could he have done it differently? Empathy is one of the top personality skills (yes, skills) necessary for strong corporate leadership later on…”
In a Parenting.com article titled Why Art Makes Kids Smarter, a teacher named Jeff Gonzalez from New York says, “Art gives kids a chance to learn by doing instead of just being lectured to. There’s no right answer in art, which means they can explore, connect new ideas, and learn from what they feel were their successes and failures without negative consequences.”
Learning empathy, creativity and intrapersonal skills further supports the argument for more arts programs at an early age. Another life skill and learning advantage that theatre obviously develops is public speaking, a top fear for adults. Whether your child is shy or bold, they can benefit from acting in front of others.
Theatre for young people is an avenue for dreams while it lays the foundation for future success. Whether they choose to view a play, ballet or symphony or participate as an actor, dancer or musician, children are never too young to connect with a theatre experience.