I have learned over the past few years of motherhood, and from being around and working with children, that children love music. Whether it be the soothing sounds of lullabies and classical music, or the rhythm and beat to songs like "the hotdog dance," children will often react to the songs with enthusiasm.
From the very beginning, children are able to respond to music. I remember when I was pregnant with my little ones, and I would put on classical music on Pandora and put headphones to my belly and just feel the movements coming from my womb. Hopefully they were happy kicks, and not "mom get this music out of here" kind of kicks. Nevertheless, once they were born, I noticed that the music I would play for them before they were born, would be soothing and relaxing for them as they were growing.
Research has found that babies respond to the rhythm and tempo of music, and can find it more engaging than speech. Babies love a beat, and it has been found also that dancing comes naturally to infants. By playing with musical instruments or musical toys, or simply putting music on with a beat, your child will naturally start to move their bodies in response to the music. Your child's brain is prewired to learn music, just as it is to learn language. Babies love movement, and by playing with your child along with music, you are working to strengthen your relationship. From small movements such as swaying, to a gentle waltz up to larger movements like jumping up and down, your child will enjoy dancing and moving with their parent, and it will aid them in reaching their developmental milestones.
You see the title, but then you ask yourself, what is that? What is Developmentally Appropriate Creative Drama? Developmentally appropriate practice (according to Professor Google), also known as DAP, is the approach to teaching that is grounded in the research on how young children develop and learn. Dramatic play is one of the many areas within Early Childhood Development (ECD) to focus your child on to help with their development. Even without our assistance, children are already conducting dramatic play. Dramatic play is a type of play where children accept and assign roles, and then act them out. Anything from role playing, using props or materials, pretending and make-believe, can assist with a child's attention span, social skills and interaction, and communication skills.
When playing with your little one, you can help boost their skills from dramatic play, as well as literacy skills by turning just a regular story book into a creative drama. Creative drama provides children the opportunity to enhance the 5 aspects of language knowledge; phonological, semantic, syntactic, morphemic, and pragmatic.
One story book that I remember growing up was called Down by the Bay, written by Raffi Cavoukian. This book/song is great for younger children. With either a single child or group of them, you can bring this story to life. By using puppets, animals, or their imaginations, you can have your little ones act out the different versus of this book and have fun doing so.
The main verse of the story is "Down by the bay, where the watermelons grow. Back to my home, I dare not go. For if I do, my mother will say...." Followed by verses such as, "did you ever see a cat, wearing a hat..." "did you ever see a frog, walking his dog..." and "did you ever see a bear, combing his hair..." just to name a few.
The possibilities are endless. Currently my 3 year olds favorite books contain either pirates or dinosaurs, so you can only imagine the creative drama fun that will be going on at my house. What is your child's favorite story?
"Show me and I forget; Teach me and I remember; Involve me and I learn" -Benjamin Franklin
Developmentally Appropriate Practice is the approach to teaching that is grounded in the research on how young children learn and develop. Creative drama is one method to implement and include learning, creativity, and fun. Choosing and using books to develop a creative drama for children is a one way to spark their creativity. Growing up, I remember one class doing a creative drama for our grade based on the children's book Down by the Bay by Raffi Cavoukian. This book/song is great for younger children, as they find the book both entertaining and instructive. Children can each be given an animal from the story to represent a verse of the book as it is being read and sang along to. This activity allows for children to practice their vocabulary and hear how different words rhyme and sound alike.
Creative drama provides children the opportunity to enhance the five aspects of language knowledge; phonological, semantic, syntactic, morphemic, and pragmatic.
Down by the Bay, contains elements of language and art. This creative drama activity teaches children to take turns, and encourages social dramatic play as the children work together to create their puppets and the actions that will go with their animal.
Some versus in the story include "Did you ever see a cat, wearing a hat?" "Did you ever see a frog, walking a dog?" "Did you ever see a bear, combing his hair?"