A look at how an Educational Drama Program can enhance your child’s Education
The Drama program at Oak Hill Academy, best private school in Monmouth County, provides a comprehensive study of Theatre and Drama. Areas of study include, but are not limited to acting, playwriting, theatre history, stagecraft and puppetry. More importantly, the program helps students build strong social and problem solving skills, become more poised and confident individuals, and creates self-esteem that will last a lifetime.
Drama at Oak Hill Academy draws from the philosophy of Educational Drama which places the creative process at the center of learning. Teaching methods include creative dramatics, process drama, and Mantle of the Expert, among others. Through classroom activities, the students are learning how to collaborate in groups, think quickly on their feet, create new ideas without judgment, overcome the fear of speaking in public, and so much more.
Another aspect of Educational Drama is integrating the student’s academic subjects into the drama classroom. For example, drama can be used to further the student’s knowledge in an academic subject such as Social Studies.
Students in the 3rd grade have been “traveling” the globe and learning about a variety of cultures while reading and acting out Cinderella tales from around the world.through Reader’s Theater scripts The students first traveled to China and met “Yeh Shen.” The students found China on the map and named which continent it was on. They learned a little bit about the language; how to say Hello: Nǐhǎo, Thank you: Xièxie and You’re welcome: Bù kèqì. Next, the students traveled to a small village in Zimbabwe, Africa and met Nyasha from John Steptoe’s “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.” Again, the students located Zimbabwe on the map and were introduced to the Shona tribe, Zimbabwe’s largest indigenous group, as well as their tribal language and culture. We learned that the word “nyoka” means snake and that the main character’s name “Nysha” means grace. We listened to Shona mbira music as well. Then, it was on to Egypt as the students read and acted out “Rhodopsis.” Students located Egypt and the Nile River on the map, as well as Greece to trace where Rhodopsis was originally from. We discussed the pyramids, hieroglyphics, and learned that the Pharaoh in the book, Amasis, was indeed a real Pharaoh and he did marry a Greek princess. Our most recent trip took the students to northern New England and the Canadian Maritimes where we met “The Rough Face Girl” who lived in the Mi’kmaq Tribe. This is just the beginning of the student’s journey. As the school year continues, the students will read and act out more Cinderella scripts that will immerse them in new cultures and take them to several other fascinating parts of the world such as Ireland, Russia and England just to name a few. Educational Drama is fun, engaging and can be used as a method of teaching. Educational Drama challenges student’s perceptions about their world and about themselves. At the center of all Drama is communication. And throughout this unit, as the students discuss the similarities and difference of these Cinderella tales from around the world, they noted that all share a common theme: to be kind, forgiving and empathetic.
By Bridget E. DeVivo
Director of Drama Program, Oak Hill Academy