We live in a wonderful world full of color, shape, sound and scent all present in our natural environment. We attempt to recreate this in many ways using paints or pencils to resemble the color palette we see, music to evoke the sounds of nature or dance as a vehicle to replicate the movement of the world around us. This is our creative response to our amazing planet
During the years of teaching young children I found DOING enabled my pupils to absorb knowledge in a fun way. After all how many of us learned to drive a car by reading the manual or become a member of any workforce. Indeed despite all the excellent lectures I attended I learned more in my first TERRIFYING week with my own class than my four years at university.
Using dance and drama as a tool allowed all my pupils to absorb some difficult ideas almost effortlessly. I recall we explored the intricate workings of the human ear by identifying and drawing each aspect from outer, middle to inner ear. We made jigsaws from our drawings marrying each part up. We lined up in the appropriate order , each child grasping a picture of and being that part. AND as a sound was produced by our nearby ‘band’ the domino effect was enacted by the pupils. All of my six and seven year olds could name and order the workings of the inner ear because of the multifaceted approach the had experienced…….None of it from a book.
I am still in touch with many of my former pupils to this day though many are now young adults. They talk to me often about what they experienced when I taught ‘back then’ and something that comes up again and again is The Dinosaur Dance. I loved using dance alongside drama in my teaching and I remember vividly hearing a particular piece of music whilst I was driving that had such an instant impact that I knew it would be perfect for exploring the work we were covering at the time. Our topic was Dinosaurs and as I heard the opening bars to Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights I could visualize the heavy footfall and terribleness of T Rex approaching. As the music unfolded there were absolutely perfect parts to depict the unfolding wings of Pterodactyls, the childish glee of baby Triceratops and the purposeful march of the adult Triceratops coming to protect the young. How lucky was I to have a mind that could perceive how this music could be played out to enhance the subject we were exploring that term . Not one child missed a single rehearsal and EVERY CHILD even the shyest danced to a packed house be it at the Dance Festival or to an audience of parents.