Dramatic Play is for both boys and girls and their imaginations can be very entertaining and enlightening! 🙂 In the picture above we see a table setting for desert, yet it doesn’t really matter what materials or props you have available for a kitchen area, because young children will use almost anything to represent what they want. Both boys and girls benefit from having an area that daily living skills can be practiced. Young children observe their families grocery shopping and cooking all the time, so it is natural that they can easily fall into role play if a kitchen area is set up. When young boys and girls engage in role play they are reenacting the behaviors of their parents, grandparents or guardians while at the grocery store or in the kitchen preparing meals. And if you were wondering, yes, that means they do often times repeat the conversations they overhear. In their young minds they make sense of whatever the adults around them discuss. 🙂 So be aware of what you say around your young child because what you discuss may become part of the role play they engage in when in the midst of dramatic play. Don’t worry, I have always interrupted any dialogue that I found to not be appropriate and steered the children in a different direction by bringing attention back to what they are actually working on together. Like any other interest area when I am able to observe and listen to the conversations the children are having while in the midst of play, I can gather a lot of information on what interests they each have. From that information I can plan an “emerging curriculum”. Whenever children have internal interest in what they are engaging in, learning becomes much more meaningful to them and we can dive deeper into the content areas. A strong foundation for a school career starts with early learning environments that support a child’s natural curiosities and abilities to engage in multiple projects. Dramatic play enables young minds to role play any ideas or experiences they have in their day to day lives. As a Teacher it is my responsibility to provide as many opportunities as I can to extend their interests. Whether your school is large or small does not matter because Dramatic Play is a necessity to a well rounded early education that pays close attention to the whole child’s developmental needs. My preschool is small and only has eight spots each day, yet all areas are designed for multiple ways of expressing dramatic play. Children can enact certain roles in a kitchen area, or with wooden dolls and with pen and paper through story telling. Role play is a natural part of dramatization and can represent real life or imaginary experiences. Through the years I have read that young children’s behavior is similar to “obsessive compulsive” behavior, yet it is a very natural part of human development and is not a “psychological condition” when young children express this behavior. Repeating the same roles and actions each role requires through a child’s mind is a normal part of childhood development that enable him/ her to practice life skills until they have mastered those skills to their own satisfaction. (I am not a psychologist so if you want to know more about mental health issues in adults and children you will have to seek another source preferably in the medical profession. 🙂 )
Take the time to watch how happy and excited your child or students are each time they engage in dramatic play and take on roles they really enjoy. You will see the change in their self confidence if they are allowed to express these natural developmental skills. 🙂
Please share your Dramatic Play spaces and experiences! I would love to read all about them!
Heidi, The Marigold School of Early Learning