Guest Blog Post: by Jane Hildreth, Pyjama Drama, Newark
Keep following the path through the deep, dark forest … did you remember to put a torch in the bag? until you come to the – oh no – the crocodile infested river! How are we going to (gulp) get to the other side?
Imagination will take you everywhere
– Albert Einstein
Solving problems like this are all in a day’s work at Pyjama Drama
The answer might be the hidden stepping stones, or it could be our crocodile-proof boat, or we just might be able to swing over on a rope (Phew! We did remember to put that in the bag).
Who knows? You may not know the answer but your 3 year old definitely will!
So, what is Pyjama Drama?
Pyjama Drama is drama and imaginative play classes for children up to 7 years, that aims to develop key skills whilst igniting imagination. We visit nurseries, pre-schools and schools to teach child-led sessions which are linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum.
Imaginative play is vital and instinctive to children. When they create make-believe situations, children learn to solve problems. Imagination helps them make sense of, and experience their world, and even explore worlds they have never encountered – whether it’s a visit to the dentist or (even) a crocodile infested river! In spontaneous play we are allowed to imagine situations we have never been in before.
Quick, jump in my submarine and let’s explore the bottom of the ocean. What can you see? A mermaid who’s lost her necklace or a shark trying to eat the ship?
Playing helps social and emotional development. Children learn how to relate to others and share with their friends. Pretending helps to develop empathy and compassion (looking after the poorly baby penguin is a good way to learn).
Pyjama Drama is not about performance so is especially good for shy or introvert children, because sharing their ideas is a wonderful boost for confidence and self-esteem.
Language skills develop too. Learning how to contribute to creating a story is great practice for future reading and writing of these at school. Hearing and trying out new words and listening to their friends is the best way to learn new vocabulary.
But let’s not forget that playing is about having fun. And that’s exactly what Pyjama Drama is. We create amazing and fantastical make-believe pretends. One of my favourite things is when the children hold my hand ‘in case you’re scared of the bear’ or to stop me slipping over on the ice. I love it when they tell me to ‘shh’ because I’m talking too loudly, and the fierce lion might wake up.
Secretly (I know, because you tell me) lots of parents are too embarrassed to play – afraid of looking ‘childish’ or simply not knowing or thinking they’ve forgotten ‘how’ to play and pretend. (If you’ve ever felt silly putting on different voices when reading a bedtime story this could be you.) So, my advice is, just go for it – embrace your inner 3 yearold, pour some imaginary tea into the tea cups, put on your jungle hat and start pretending!
One of the greatest benefits is the opportunity it presents for parents to interact fully with their child, to spend some precious time in their little world, which is so very important. Oh, and, it’s really fun (once you get the hang of it).
You don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing
– George Bernard Shaw
I have been bringing Pyjama Drama to Children’s House Nursery in Southwell every week for the last 5 years. I spend my working day pretending. My thanks to Karen O’Connell for inviting me to write this blog and for having the vision to let me pretend with your children.
Jane Hildreth, Manager – Pyjama Drama, Newark