Benefits of Dramatic Play for Children in Early Years - Ms. Nikol Hellebrandova
June 28, 2018, 1:37 pm

The International School of Chonburi - Pattaya is a Reggio Emilia approach inspired international school. Our teachers firmly believe young children learn through play and personal experience. It is our role, as teachers and educators, to prepare a rich and stimulating environment and give our students time to construct their own learning. We facilitate the learning by planning activities and lessons based on children's interests, asking the questions that lead to understanding, and actively engaging ourselves in the activities alongside the children. We act as collaborators and co-learners, rather than instructors and traditional teachers. Observation of children, mutual participation in the activities, and direct interaction with children allow us to know our students better from various perspectives. Consequently, we can adapt our teaching to their different cognitive, emotional, social, and cultural needs. We consider a child's individual needs, but also strongly focus on social interaction and collaboration. The children work in groups where each child is an equal participant and her or his thoughts and ideas are valued.

We know from our experience that every child is different, has different needs, and requires a different approach to her or his personal development. Every child goes through the cognitive developmental stages (as described by Piaget) at their own pace. On the other hand, we understand that children have a rich potential to learn and are driven by curiosity and interest to know more. We work daily with children who are not native English speakers. We acknowledge that the spoken word is not the only way of communication. We appreciate and follow Loris Malaguzzi's "The Hundred Languages of Children" philosophy and encourage our children to express themselves in many different ways to show their knowledge and share their thoughts and feelings. Process-oriented art, music, movement, and dramatic play are part of our daily routines.

The ISC Early Years' (kindergarten) classrooms are organised to encourage collaboration, communication, and exploration. Our talented teachers and teacher assistants create a variety of original supportive props. We use authentic materials and tools to inspire children's interests. We believe children learn best through hands-on activities experiencing new concepts with all their senses.

Environment plays a crucial role in our teaching philosophy. The set-up of our dramatic Play centre changes regularly, as the children learn about different topics - a vet Office, a restaurant, a prehistoric dinosaurs' habitat with exploding volcanoes, a grocery store, or an airport - just to name some. Their purpose always remains the same - learning! Experts agree that young children learn best through play. Dramatic play is a great stepping stone for learning to self-regulate their emotions and actions. Role-play encourages expressive language. Children are motivated to communicate their wishes to their peers. Students who are not native English speakers learn new vocabulary and language structures in a natural situation. Dramatic play also teaches conflict resolution. Inevitably, disagreements naturally arise during dramatic play. These times offer children a chance to work through their differences and reach a compromise. Last, but not least, dramatic play supports maths and literacy: "Three apples, two oranges, and five bananas ... Anything else?" "Your baby has a fever. Let me prescribe some medicine." "Your boarding time is in five minutes".

Dramatic play provides the perfect setting for children to interact with everyday maths concepts, as well as language. The foundations for success in primary school and beyond are built in ISC’s Early Years (kindergarten) department.