Albert Einstein said: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions”. The power of drama is its ability to enable us to try out or ‘preview’ new realities, and indeed explore existing ones, under the guise of make-believe.
In a primary school setting, the blank canvas that make-believe provides is quickly filled by creative young minds as they begin to freely project their real life experiences into the space.
Through dramatic play we can engage primary school students in an authentic conversation about stories of conflict – authentic because the thoughts, feelings and actions of all characters are validated at every turn, authentic because we seek to understand the complexity of human motivations, responses, and needs of each player, authentic because we are momentarily free from the over-simplified mass-media judgments of characters and behaviours as ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ that serves only to keep conflict married to fear.
In it’s simplest terms, resilience can be seen as bouncing back when we get pushed out of shape. Dramatic action can play a vital role in allowing young people to actually practice experiencing the key conditions for bouncing back: an understanding of the ‘anatomy’ common to all conflict; a sense of empathy for all characters based on an understanding of their needs; the ability to positively reframe the situation based on this new information; the ability to creatively influence the outcome for all characters involved; and the experience of having respectful relationships and belonging.
In this way we can, through drama, achieve cross curricular learning in Health and Physical Education, and the Cross Curriculum Priorities of Critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding, as we grow mental wellbeing.
Get in touch to chat more about my school programs and how I can help grow resilience in your classroom.