Lower School Drama Curriculum

This Lower School (Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5) curriculum was developed for use at The Haverford School about 15 years ago.  Though written for a specific school, I feel this curriculum might be used as a model to create curricula for other schools and programs.  Specific lesson sequence varied from year to year because lessons were written to conform to each class's specific needs and to support changing curricula in other areas, but the objective was to accomplish the stated yearly goals each year.  The goals are arranged not sequentially but logically, by main subject area, with no hierarchical relationship between main headings implied.  It is expected that every lesson taught in Lower School Drama will address a number of different points on the outline simultaneously. (And indeed if this were not true it would be impossible to cover all of the material in a year, meeting once a week.)  Where specific skills, activities or subgoals appear more than once in a grade level, this is because they address more than one main goal.  (The Drama curriculum is really best understood as a three-dimensional web of interrelated skills.)

 

This curriculum was designed to meet the requirements of the Goals 2000 National Standards for Arts Education, which was the standard in place at the time of its creation, but its structure was more closely modeled on the "Essential Elements" of the Texas Theatre Arts Curriculum, which was a well accepted model of a working elementary level dramatic arts curriculum.  At the time, Texas was the only state to mandate drama education in its public schools.  The National Standards focused mainly on performance skills, while the Texas curriculum was much more process-oriented.  The Haverford School curriculum was a balance of the two, meeting the requirements of both but stressing the more developmentally appropriate process-oriented approach.

 

This curriculum addresses four basic domains of learning:  Psychomotor--developing perceptual and expressive skills and techniques; Cognitive--assimilating knowledge and developing higher order thinking skills; Affective--cultivating positive attitudes towards art and the discipline or are, and about themselves in relation to art; and Aesthetic--deriving pleasure from a combination of senses, emotions, intellect, philosophy, imagination and spirit.  In addition it is structured so as to allow for the maximum of crossover with other parts of the Lower School curriculum to create a whole learning approach.  It is a guiding principle of this curriculum that drama can and should be used as a way of approaching the study of every subject, and that it can do so without compromising those curricular goals to which it is uniquely suited.