Curriculum for Excellence - Scotland
Pyjama Drama Learning delivers drama and imaginative play training and resources for preschool teachers and parents. We’ve been working with children’s incredible imaginations since 2005 and have a wealth of games, activities, songs, music and drama activities that support Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence which is intended to, ‘help children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century, including skills for learning, life and work’.
Our imaginative approach to play-based learning (which combine the disciplines of drama, movement, music and play) is key to helping young children develop crucial skills - skills that are not only transferable to all areas of the curriculum, but to all areas of life. Drama and all its forms can help children learn across every subject area, so should play a key role in children’s daily lives.
Here’s how our approach to learning support Creative Arts, as well as Literacy, Numeracy and Health & Wellbeing; these latter three areas being recognised as being particularly important as areas all staff have responsibility for in Scotland.
Through the arts, children experience playful exploration, self-expression, creativity, and the joy of learning. The arts also support children's learning and development in varied and meaningful ways…
Dance is the perfect way for young children to develop physically, cognitively, and emotionally, and dramatized movement can easily be integrated into the curriculum, increasing the amount of time spent daily in physical activity – ‘taking part in dance contributes to their physical education and physical activity’.
Our simple to deliver Movement Sequences form early dance skills, for example the range of movements required to balance on a tightrope, walk safely over Crocodile Bridge, or dance through the ocean with mermaids, help young children create ‘short dance sequences, using travel, turn, jump, gesture, pause and fall, within safe practise’ (EXA 1-08a).
By encouraging children to ‘act out’ a range of emotions in the safe, supportive environment of imaginative play, children can explore real and imaginary situations helping them to ‘understand and share their world’. Dramatizing a range of scenarios - the burial of a much-loved goldfish, starting school, helping a dragon find his way to the Chinese New Year celebrations – all help children to, ‘express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through drama.’ (EXA 0-13a/EXA 1-13a/EXA 2-13a).
Our approach to learning through play is holistic and as such we advocate integrating music within our play and pretend wherever possible. We have over seventy original songs (download ten for free here) designed to get children moving and using their imagination to provide ‘rich opportunities to be creative and to experience inspiration and enjoyment’. Why not take our music into the classroom and see for yourself? Perfect for children up to seven years, singing together and using music to enhance drama is the perfect medium for helping young children ‘enjoy singing and playing along to music of different styles and cultures’ (EXA 0-16a).
Literacy across learning
Early literacy is built on the foundations of active listening, the social uses of language, and nonverbal communication, all of which are easily facilitated within the playful environment of the classroom, and enhance learning across all curriculum areas. In dramatic play children’s language naturally moves from the concrete to the abstract as they take on a range of roles – from doctor to scientist to frog, gnome, ghost, builder – and create their own narratives that they can then develop through drama, discussion or through their writing, ‘I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts and I use what I learn to invent my own, sharing my thoughts in different ways’ (LIT 0-01c).
Playing our drama games can also support literacy (‘As I listen and talk in different situations I am learning to take turns and am developing my awareness of when to talk and when to listen’ LIT 0-02a/ENG 0-03a), and our range of rhymes and songs help young children to enjoy ‘exploring and playing with the patterns and sounds of language’ LIT 0-01a/LIT 0-11a/LIT0-20a).
When you pretend you can do anything; even if you haven't mastered 'real' writing you can still help Monkey write an imaginary birthday card, create a pirate map, leave Dad a note when you go outside to play, write an apology on an imaginary piece of paper to the three little pigs – all these pretend writing activities instil a joy for, and an understanding of, writing and helps develop early Literacy.
Numeracy across learning
Our approach to imaginative play can provide young children with a variety of mathematical explorations and applications, to ‘develop essential numeracy skills which allow me to participate fully in society’. Through our movement, music, and drama activities, children develop spatial sense, pattern recognition, and the language to express mathematical thinking. For example, counting the number of slugs that are eating Auntie’s roses, and working out how many roses are left, give children opportunities so they ‘can ‘count on and back’ to help me understand addition and subtraction, recording my ideas and solutions in different ways’ (MNU 0-03a). Working out how best to help the Troll mend his broken bridge encourages children to develop ‘a sense of size and amount by observing, exploring, using and communicating with others about things in the world around me’ (MNU 0-01a).
Health and wellbeing across learning
Our approach to the delivery of drama and imaginative play activities is centred around the child; we provide a safe, supportive environment in which children are encouraged to play, explore and learn about themselves and the world, promoting ‘confidence, independent thinking and positive attitudes and dispositions’. For example, tackling a difficult situation through an imaginary world such as burying a much loved goldfish or starting school supports children’s Mental and Emotional Wellbeing (‘I am aware of and able to express my feelings and am developing the ability to talk about them’ HWB 0-01a), by allowing them the chance to ‘trial’ situations before they happen. Helping your friends decorate the house in time for Diwali contributes to children's' Social Wellbeing (‘I value the opportunities I am given to make friends and be part of a group in a range of situations’ HWB 0-14a), and taking on the role of a doctor or a fitness instructor can contribute to a child’s Physical Wellbeing (‘I am developing my understanding of the human body and can use this knowledge to maintain and improve my wellbeing and health’ HWB 0-15a).