What Drama Education Can Teach Your Child (page 2)

What Drama Education Can Teach Your Child

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Updated on Nov 18, 2008

Be prepared for a time commitment. A production is a lot of work, and your child will have to attend lots of rehearsals. Make room in your schedule – once your child is in the show, practice isn’t really an “optional” activity. Many parents think they can take their kids out early, drop them off late, or skip rehearsals entirely, which causes serious problems for the rest of the cast.

Keep your perspective – and help your child keep hers. On opening night, you'll have all eyes on your little star, even if she’s playing the second daisy from the left. But in reality, it’s not all about your child. One of drama’s greatest gifts is that it forces children to work together as a team, even if they don’t know or like each other. Your child needs to see herself as part of something bigger than herself, which means showing up for rehearsals even when she’d rather do something else, and being gracious to her “teammates” – especially if she’s the star of the show. Model that behavior: congratulate other students and their families, and encourage your child to think about what she can do for the cast, crew, or director. Writing notes or bringing in little treats before a performance or rehearsal can be a thoughtful gesture, especially from someone in a leading role.

Get involved. The typical drama teacher’s responsibilities would be divided between five or six different people in the professional theater world. Any help you offer will be greatly appreciated, whether you donate goods, build sets, sew costumes, or hand out programs during the performance. In many schools, the arts programs don’t get the “booster” support that sports do, so your contribution can really make a difference.

Advocate for theater education. Unfortunately, in today’s world of No Child Left Behind, arts programs can be one of the first things cut from the school budget. However, Jones emphasizes, “Theater is part of the core-curriculum with national standards and assessment tools.” If your school doesn't offer a program, talk to the administration about why, and ask whether you can do anything to help. Many schools lack the funds to support extracurriculars like drama; parent fundraising can make a big difference.

While school is a natural place to get your child's feet wet, don't be afraid to look elsewhere. “Check out community theaters nearby and college theater departments or professional companies with youth programs; check out summer camps," such as Camp Bravo or Stagedoor Manor, Jones says. Also, look into church youth groups or local performing arts groups for kids.

With a little research, you can find a place for your child to stretch her wings, and make all the world her stage. Hannah Montana, watch out!

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