The book is aimed at practitioners working with young children and parents. I would also suggest it is aimed at lecturers and trainers who educate those who wish to have a career in childcare and child education.
The introduction is rather long but relevant. It explains why and how drama is essential in the everyday lives of children. Without drama they cannot begin to make sense of their world. Make believe play is vital for sound development of emotional and social awareness as well as the other aspects of learning and discovery that children proceed through towards adulthood.
The question, “Why are story pretending and drama neglected in the classroom?” is key to the lack of such a facility in the majority of educational and care settings. Very few students are shown and taught how to tell a story. They have no repertoire to lean on wherever they find themselves with children. Without the shield of a book, they are speechless. The authors argue that there is an overly keen emphasis on academic work with the casualty being inventiveness, imagination and role play.
The subsequent chapters are full of ideas and suggestions for the set up, the examples and resources that can be collected and used time after time.
There is a story example on glossy pages written in a way that lends itself to drama and role play.
The authors link aspects of dramatisation to the curriculum with ease. Literacy, numeracy, construction and so on are demonstrated within the pages of the book. There are suggestions for different activities based on a story or drama. There is a strong link to individual and group work and even scripted conversations which the practitioner could have with the children.
There are templates for hand puppets and photos of children re-enacting the Billy Goats Gruff story.
I like the idea of having a book like this on the shelves of a primary and nursery school staff room where it becomes part of the resources section so that there are always good ideas and plans for hardworking, overwrought professionals to follow.
Woodard, Carol and Milch, Carri (2012) Make Believe Play and Story-Based Drama in Early Childhood
Jessica Kingsley Publishers