National curriculum drama: the lowdown

Character from a play
Most children are natural actors and drama helps to unleash their creativity and build up their confidence. Find out what your child will be learning in class and how you can develop their flair for the theatrical at home.

National curriculum drama is one of the 12 strands of learning in the literacy curriculum. It helps children think about the 'who, why, where, and when' elements of stories, events and everyday experiences. Drama helps children develop a creative perspective on life and gives them freedom of expression.

What happens in class?

In national curriculum drama lessons most children learn to:

  • use dramatic techniques, including working in role to explore ideas and texts
  • create, share and evaluate ideas through drama

Opportunities to learn drama techniques will also be presented to pupils in other strands in the literacy curriculum. In ‘Speaking and Listening’, for example, children are expected to learn to ‘speak competently and creatively for different purposes and audiences', which can be tried out in the lines spoken by different characters in a play.

Alongside the literacy aspect, drama helps develop a child's confidence, self-esteem and communication skills across the national curriculum. Classes provide a safe environment in which children can express themselves using improvising and spontaneity exercises.

Cross-curricular drama

Drama lends itself well to cross curricular possibilities. It can be used to help children learn history (through re-enactments of events) geography (through imagining the landscape) and PSHE (through creating scenarios and situations to explore issues, such as bullying).

It can also be used to help children making the transition to big school, junior school or secondary. Again, through drama games, role play and improvisation pupils can express their fears, worries and anxieties.

Get ahead in drama at home

Try these tricks to help your child improve their confidence and enjoy drama at home:

  • Provide a dressing-up box for your child and their friends to play with. It will inspire all sorts of different role play
  • Encourage your child to tell you stories and act them out to you
  • Ask your child and their friends to perform a play for you and the other parents. It will keep them busy for hours and will be very entertaining
  • If your child is particularly interested in drama, take them to extra-curricular drama lessons in their free time