Child-Structured Socio-Dramatic Play and the Drama Educator

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Abstract

Spencer (2003, p. 3) warns us that, “imagination shrivels and shrinks if it is not nourished by the negotiations that occur between different dimensions of reality” and while drama educators have been keen advocates for, and facilitators of, the type of adult-structured drama experiences that offer children opportunities to explore these spaces, far less attention has been paid to the development of children’s imaginations, creativity and dramatic skills via child-structured dramatic play. This is especially the case for children in formal primary school settings, with Hadley (2002, p. 11) suggesting that play has become “ghettoised” within kindergarten and entry classrooms, out of the reach of older children for whom it is positioned as the binary opposite of work. This situation exists in spite of current efforts aimed at building a “creative class” (Florida, 2002, 2005), for play has become marginalized in these discussions, replaced by discourses focused on the development of creative products that can readily be assessed and shared.