The body speaks: zero-six training and theater

Drama activity has always been part of the teaching offer of the CEFA Schools held at different levels by qualified teachers: starting from the Kindergarten and within the Italian Language and Literature curriculum for primary and secondary schools, Drama class represents an opportunity for #growth through the exploration and use of soft and life skills envisaged and required by the European directive on key competences for lifelong learning.

Alongside the focus on #neuroscience and on STEAM tools, it was therefore essential for the Kindergarten teachers to rediscover theatrical activity to enhance #self-consciousness and #bodylanguage.

The drama lab directed by the actress and director Prof. Susie Calvi, artistic director of #Vivateatro drama school in Rome, accompanied them to work on breathing, on the use of the voice, on facial expressions and the use of the body as an important medium for verbal and non-verbal communication, to the benefit of the educational relationship with children and of didactic planning in specific fields of #expertise.

How important is the body language perceived by the 0-6 age group?

Susie Calvi: “Body language at this age is fundamental for good emotional #development, an essential characteristic of a” healthy”and balanced personality, and an essential precondition for any type of #learning. It is essential for children to be able to build a good self-confidence, to become aware of # their own and others’ emotions, to discover #diversity as a potential wealth, learns to manage conflicts and cooperate with others. Body language through theater is used with techniques to:

  • Know and use their sensory and ideomotor abilities to the fullest
  • Move in a coordinated way according to a specific purpose
  • Acquire motor-expressive skills.
  • Improve gestural communication skills.
  • Acquire good intellectual and motor ductility.

How important is it to stimulate awareness of emotions?

Learning to recognize emotions, to give them a value and a name, is certainly a fundamental objective for the emotional, cognitive and social growth of children. They often lack “the words to say it”, and when they learn them, they finally manage to recognize and express their own feelings and those of others.

What skills does the child develop standing on a stage?

Getting on stage from an early age helps to face difficulties and fears. While doing theater a child puts into action many skills that he himself does not realize he has. Using the voice in the appropriate way, learning to work in small and large groups, or doing while having fun fixes what you experience in the memory with rare effectiveness and creates strong motivations to continue the experience, both on a cognitive and emotional level. In the space of the theater one can tell personal experiences, sometimes even the most dramatic ones, by pretending to talk about others by covering up behind a mask or using a puppet. Children are not actors, but they are very skilled in showing the realities they know, giving them a representation mediated by their particular way of seeing things, plus they possess that instinct and spontaneity that naturally arise from the pleasure of imitating.

What was the most important moment of the workshop?

During the workshop with kindergarten teachers, as we proceeded with the theatrical techniques and improvisations, strengths and weaknesses of each came out.

The fundamental principle of every teaching team is to learn to team up in order to share projects and face a school year together. Teachers have learned to #immediate themselves in new characters and become children again, a fundamental element in my opinion to teach, to step into the shoes of their students in order to #educate, #teach and #understand. Teachers know very well the joys and sorrows of being the reference point of a group of children, exactly as they know the difficulties that are encountered every day to establish and grow a positive relationship. Drama can make a valuable contribution to all this, both as a relational strategy useful for the formation of the group and as a language through which to give voice to the group itself.

I would say that the most important moment of the workshop was when each teacher took off her “mask” and returned to being a child.