Cultural Development of the Child in Role-Play: Drama Pedagogy and Its Potential Contribution to Early Childhood Education

Marilyn Fleer, Anna Kamaralli

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


    Early childhood education theories have generally discouraged adult intervention in children’s role-play, in preference for allowing for the natural development of young children from unstructured play. However, the pedagogy of drama assumes ongoing guidance and involvement from the teacher, who provides students with a brief for carrying out exercises of imaginative play within parameters given by the adult. This chapter argues that there is a place for such adult involvement in general imaginative role-play, in expanding children’s creative resources.Building on the work of Vygotsky, who argued that drama is closely related to play,and later Lindqvist in her development of the concept of play worlds, it is suggested that the active support of teachers in devising scenarios jointly created by the children and the teachers is of great benefit to children’s development. Case studies from both preschool and primary school settings are presented to demonstrate this.Introducing Shakespeare to primary school-age students and introducing various forms of play worlds to preschool children resulted in observably high levels of engagement and creative expansion. A lot can be learned from the drama pedagogue, but there is a need for a mindset change in early childhood education,because early childhood teachers do not traditionally take part in children’s play. We argue that carefully crafted teacher interventions in narrative role-play not only develop children’s play, but culturally develop children.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMultidisciplinary perspectives on play from birth and beyond
    EditorsSandra Lynch, Deborah Pike, Cynthia a Beckett
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811026430
    ISBN (Print)9789811026416
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NameInternational Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development


    • Early Childhood Education
    • Learning & Instruction
    • Educational Psychology

    Cite this