Introducing Your Child to the Arts: Dramatic Play for Children (page 2)

— National Endowment for the Arts
Updated on Mar 14, 2011

Education and Special Programs in Theater

Because educational drama is a group activity requiring skilled leadership, you should consult your child’s teacher or principal to see whether it is already part of the school program. While many schools are now adding theater to the curriculum, it is still absent in most elementary schools. As a parent, you can help promote educational drama by encouraging teachers to include drama in their classrooms or by helping bring artists-in-residence to the school.

It may be that you will want to discover other opportunities in your community for classes in the performing arts. You should look for available resources in the following places:

  • Community centers and city or county recreation departments.
  • Libraries,museums, churches, playgrounds and camps, and YMCAs and YWCAs.
  • Local colleges and universities.
  • Performing arts centers, as well as professional and community theaters.

Many facilities have splendid programs in the arts. Visit classes, note the age levels of the children and the preparation of the teachers. Ask questions about the school’s philosophy: for instance, how does the school ensure opportunities for all children? Classes in educational drama, puppetry, mime, and dance offer enrichment beyond whatever the school provides. The chance to explore creatively and act spontaneously is essential.


Some good sources of information about theater for young audiences are theater departments of colleges and universities, newspaper reviews, local or state arts councils, and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE). In addition, many regional arts agencies support touring theaters for children and young audiences. Your state arts council can put you in touch
with the regional organization for your area.

Books, Play Publications, and Articles

Theatre for Young Audiences, 20 Great Plays for Young Children by Coleman A. Jennings (Ed.)
Storytelling Games: Creative Activities for Language, Communication, and Composition Across Curriculum by Doug Lipman
The Dramatic Difference: Drama in the Preschool and Kindergarten Classroom by Victoria Brown & Sarah Pleydell

Web Sites

American Alliance for Theatre and Education
American Alliance for Theatre and Education aims to promote standards of excellence in theater and theater education, connecting artists, educators, and researchers with each other, and providing opportunities for members to learn, exchange, expand, and diversify their work.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts provides this Web site to promote arts education; the site includes a section allowing site users to explore arts-related themes and activities.

Folger Shakespeare Library
The Folger Shakespeare Library’s Web site provides a section on activities and games for children related to Shakespeare and his work.

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