How Children Learn Theatre, Grades 5–8

In theatre, artists create an imagined world about human beings; it is the role of the actor to lead the audience into this visual, aural, and oral world.

To help students in grades five to eight develop theatre literacy, it is important that they learn to see the created world of theatre through the eyes of the playwright, actor, designer, and director. Through active creation of theatre, students learn to understand artistic choices and to critique dramatic works.

Students should, at this point, play a larger role in the planning and evaluation of their work. They should continue to use drama as a means of confidently expressing their worldview, thus developing their “personal voice.”

The drama also should introduce students to plays that reach beyond their communities to national, international, and historically representative themes.

Source: National Standards for Arts Education, published by Music Educators National Conference (MENC). Copyright © 1994 by MENC. Used by permission. The complete National Arts Standards and additional materials relating to the standards are available from MENC, The National Association for Music Education, 1806 Robert Fulton Drive, Reston, VA 20191, telephone: 800-336-3768.