The Foundation Phase - Wales
Pyjama Drama Learning fully endorses the ethos of The Foundation Phase for three to seven-year-olds, which encourages children to be ‘creative and imaginative, and makes learning more enjoyable and more effective.’ We deliver drama and imaginative play training and resources for preschool teachers and parents, have been working with children’s incredible imaginations since 2005 and our wealth of games, activities, songs, music and drama activities holistically support learning across the Seven Areas of Learning:
Personal and social development, well-being and cultural diversity
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 in which they live. For example, tackling a difficult situation through an imaginary world such as burying a much loved goldfish or starting school (‘adopt a range of roles’) supports children's’ Personal Development, allowing them the chance to ‘trial’ situations before they happen (so they feel ‘safe and secure and feel that they are valued’). Helping Grandma decorate the house in time for Diwali (‘communicate their ideas, values and beliefs about themselves, others and the world’), or doing the dragon jive at Chinese New Year supports Social Development, as children learn about their own and others’ cultures. Taking on the role of a doctor or a fitness instructor can contribute to a child’s Well-being, as can the simple joy that comes from playing, singing, dancing and laughing together!
Language, literacy and communication skills
interacting with teachers and peers in imaginary environments supports the development of communication and language use, conventions, grammar and vocabulary. All of our games and activities place children in a range of real and imaginary worlds, worlds that they are encouraged to engage with and respond to, allowing them to 'experience a language-rich environment that immerses them in the spoken and written word'. Our games and activities can be adapted to include characters from stories or song; their flexibility is what makes them so user-friendly, so in one game a child may be required to use the language of a doctor, in another a farmer and another a parent, contributing to a growing confidence in line with a growing vocabulary (Speaking). Drama games that require children to 'express themselves creatively and imaginatively' may involve creating a spell, building a rocket ship or negotiating a safe passage past a sleeping lion (Speaking), and engaging with our songs, action songs and rhyming games support children work towards being able to join and memorise a range of stimuli (Listening).
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. Also, reciting our original, dramatic rhymes and singing Pyjama Drama songs help children develop phonological awareness, in preparation for Reading and Writing.
Imaginative play can provide young children with a variety of mathematical explorations and applications. Through movement, music, and drama activities children develop spatial sense, pattern recognition, and the language to express mathematical thinking. In summary, our activities help ‘develop practical mathematical skills in a range of contexts’ and help children to 'understand and use a range of measures and recognise and use shapes within play and structured activities'. For example, counting the number of slugs that are eating Auntie’s roses (and working out how many roses are left) give children opportunities problem solve (Using Number Skills), and being part of an expedition to the North Pole that keeps (imaginary) written records to measure temperature throughout the journey, supports use comparisons (Measuring Skills)
Welsh language development
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 classroom drama. The Foundation Phase Framework promotes that ‘skills are developed through communicating in a range of enjoyable, practical planned activities’ and that ‘children should learn to use and communicate in Welsh to the best of their ability’. We all know that children learn best while having fun, so ordering an ice cream cone, asking a lion for directions or talking to your sick dog (in any language!) is always going to be fun and therefore meaningful. All our drama techniques can be delivered through the medium of Welsh and it’s easy to integrate Cymraeg into our games.
Knowledge and understanding of the world
All our activities are designed to help children develop their wider understanding of the world and by introducing them to a range of drama games and opportunities for pretend play, we provide experiences for children that ‘help them increase their curiosity about the world around them.’ Roasting a Turkey on Thanksgiving, walking down the aisle with your best friend on your arm or lighting candles on the Sabbath (all of which can be done through drama games, role play and music and movement) help young children make sense of the amazing world in which they live. This type of experience also helps children begin to understand the similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions. The very nature of drama and all its forms is inclusive and relies on the contribution of a team meaning that children quickly learn to ‘express their own ideas, opinions and feelings with imagination, creativity and sensitivity’.
Movement is a great way for young children to develop physically, cognitively and emotionally. Our original action songs can easily be integrated into the curriculum and this is a simple way to increase the amount of time spent in physical activity - download our songs here. Our drama games and our approach to dramatic play preserves children’s joy and exuberance, and allows teachers to focus on process, and avoid comparison and competition. That’s why every single one of our music and movement-based activities provides opportunities for children to ‘use their bodies effectively, by encouraging spatial awareness, balance, control and coordination, and developing motor and manipulative skills’. So, balancing on a tightrope, tiptoeing over Crocodile Bridge, jumping in puddles, floating on the surface of the moon - these physical activities all help children develop good control and coordination. Tentatively creeping past a sleeping lion or taking care not to slip on an icy lake help children negotiate space,
and taking on the role of a doctor, a fitness instructor or a lion who has just trained for the Olympics introduces children to ‘concepts of health, hygiene and safety, and the importance of diet, rest, sleep and exercise’
Pyjama Drama Learning promotes an imaginative approach to learning across the curriculum. We have over 70 original actions songs and music activities (‘Children should engage in creative, imaginative and expressive activities in art, craft, design, music, dance and movement’), hundreds of tried and tested games and a vast range of simple, easy to implement activities designed to ignite the imagination and help children learn while having fun (‘Children should be continually developing their imagination and creativity across the curriculum’).