Drama Fairytales and Their Use

According to the NCCA (1999) Revised Primary Drama Curriculum, “The essence of drama is the making of story through enactment.   The answer to the question ‘what’s the story?’ will always lead to the making of a plot (a series of actions and events) with a theme (a focus for reflection).   Successful drama will reflect life in a realistic or metaphorical way.”
The value of this ‘pretend’ play is recognised by many.   On my first teaching observation week in September I was sitting in with a junior infant class.   There was an area of the classroom set up as a ‘pretend corner’.   On that particular week the theme was ‘being sick’ or ‘going to the doctor’s surgery’.   There were sick teddies, little beds, play doctor’s sets with thermometers and stethoscopes, nurse uniforms notepads with pens and a few small desks/tables.   A few times during the week a different group got to play in the corner.   The play was very interesting.   They were using their own life experiences of being in the doctor’s to act out the scene.   Without any interaction from the teacher they came up with characters and a scenario whereby one of the teddies was feeling unwell and had to be brought to the doctor’s.   After much discussion, poking and prodding it was concluded that the teddy was very sick indeed and needed some medicine.   I was very surprised by the language used and how they each respected each other’s part in the play.   On this day the class teacher did not interact with the children but I could see opportunities of how to expand on what was going on.   What if the doctor became sick?   The teacher could put on a coat and play the role of the doctor.   All of this would encourage the children to think on the spot developing both cognitive and language skills.
Winston, J. & Tandy, M. (2000) “This is not to suggest that the stories that children make for themselves are not important and valuable, but we recognise that teachers are required to account for and manage children’s learning with...