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The idea of standing in front of an audience to perform can be unnerving to many. As we get older, anxiety around public speaking becomes harder to overcome and can act as a barrier to achieving goals that might reside just outside our comfort zone.
In contrast, children posses an innate sense of play which gives them an amazing ability to perform in front of others without those feelings of self-consciousness we tend to develop as we mature. Children who are encouraged to perform can develop the sort of confidence that will serve them in other aspects of their personal and professional lives down the road.
“Drama was always the place where I felt like I fit,” said Rob Mason-Brown, Senior Drama Specialist at Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School. “School plays and drama class were my sanctuary growing up.”
Rob Mason-Brown completed his Theatre Studies degree in Wales at the University of Wales, Trinity St. David. Since settling in Kelowna, Rob has founded and is now the Artistic Director of the Fred Skeleton Theatre Company, and is currently in his second year of teaching full-time at Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School.
Teaching children the ins and outs of drama provides them with a wide range of skills that will help them in their overall development in the years to come. These skills include public speaking, critical thinking, concentration, memory, leadership and more.
“Drama, and especially improvisation, make students think on the fly and problem solve both individually and as a group,” said Mason-Brown. “They learn to communicate their ideas effectively and work together to overcome obstacles with creative solutions.”
Creating a comfortable environment for your children to explore different scenarios is a great way for them to think about the world in a deeper way. It brings them out of their bubble and gives them a chance to see the world through the lens of their character.
“A good actor needs to be an expert in human behaviour and social cues,” explained Mason-Brown. “The children are learning empathy as they put themselves in the position of others. Drama at school makes students think about the ‘Magic If’ — as in, how would I behave if I was in that situation.”
By encouraging the development of self-confidence, emotional maturity, communication, empathy and teamwork in children through drama, they will grow up with a deeper understanding of the world and more career paths will be available to them.
“Public speaking skills are an asset that is relevant to lots of career paths,” said Mason-Brown. “The ability to communicate clearly with people is a key leadership trait that will serve our students well in the future.”
On top of everything, drama is also very fun. Children can immerse themselves into a character for a while and learn life lessons alongside their friends in a safe environment. They will develop plenty of life-long skills which will help them with all their future endeavours.
At Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School, drama is an important part of the overall curriculum. This holistic approach to education helps children develop into versatile adults that have the freedom to pursue the higher education and career of their choosing. For information or any inquiries, check out Aberdeen Hall’s website.
Aberdeen Hall is a non-profit, co-educational and non-denominational independent university prep school offering classes from Preschool to Grade 12. Aberdeen Hall fosters academic excellence in a progressive school environment which is safe and caring. Our school in Kelowna offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities and supports a strong sense of community. For more information, visit www.aberdeenhall.com.
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