Your Child Could Missing Out!
As I spoke to my five, almost six year old, daughter yesterday after school, she proceeded to tell me how her day had gone. It appears, according to her, no one plays with her at recess. When asked why, she explained to me that she simply waits for someone to come up and ask her to play, and when no one does, she gives up and plays alone. Now, as a mother, I feel just terrible and want so badly to make the other children play with her, but as a theatre educator, I see this as a golden opportunity where she could benefit from acting classes or performing. I see my child as a confident, spunky kid who is a go getter, but when away from me, she seems to lack the self confidence and courage to socialize.
I bet if we were to all look at aspects of our children’s lives, we could find areas where to us, our children may seem outgoing and confident, but when put in social situations, they lack the self confidence to put themselves out there.
This is where theatre differs from other extracurricular activities your child may participate in. Theatre allows students to assert themselves and take on leadership roles when they learn to carry a role onstage. When students are given a character they have to create, they are the decision makers and in complete control. Students need to feel they have control over something in their lives.
Theatre allows kids to express themselves and have their voice be heard. In theatre, their opinion matters. Kids desperately want to be valued in this world and being able to express themselves is vitally important.
Children need a safe place to feel like they can be themselves and not be judged. Theatre provides that place for many young people. They can act crazy, show emotions and be themselves and it is ok. In fact, it is encouraged and nurtured in the world of theatre to make them a stronger actor.
Theatre provides a place where kids can be mentored by older kids in a positive environment. I remember as a young girl growing up being a member of our local community theatre. My fondest memories are of fellow actors, tutoring me in Algebra and Chemistry. Having the older boys be like big brothers to me and everyone taking good care of me.
That is what kids are missing today. In a digital age, where kids are glued to computers so much, they are missing that connection to be with human beings. Kids just want to be heard, valued and respected. Then their confidence soars. Theatre is the perfect place for kids to find that. Now how does this apply to a kindergartner you ask? I believe with the confidence this 5 year old gains from theatre, she can walk to a playmate, look them straight in the eye, and say “hey, let’s go have some fun together. Let’s pretend something.” Kids deserve to feel confident now as young people, to help them a long when they grow up. Don’t they deserve that?