Preparing for a show with 4 to 6 year-old-children
*This blog looks specifically at preparing a show with preschool children, for an end of term or year.
Have you ever put together an end of year performance with 4-5-year-olds? You might be worried that the kids will freeze and you'll end up doing all the lines! You want to show off, not be shown up!
I have done end of term and end of year shows with preschool kids. The kids and parents were always delighted, but it does take careful preparation. Check this "end of term show" blog for the preparation steps since these are applicable for children of all ages.
My first show was nearly a disaster!
The first time I did a show with 4 and 5-year-olds I discovered how overwhelming the whole thing was for them. The six-year-old who was playing the lead character arrived in a fabulous princess dress only to find that all the other kids were dressed nicely, but were not in fancy dress. She was traumatized and went home to change. But in the meantime, the show had to go on and my lead character had gone home to change! Luckily my teaching methods meant that all my kids knew all the lines so someone else stepped in and performed the lead beautifully. When the princess returned, dressed normally, she joined in with the rest of the show.
The other thing that went wrong was that the kids did freeze up at first, and I had to coax them.
From the experience of the first show, I changed the way I did shows and have never had any problems since.
I do recommend that you perform in an intimate space, with parents sitting closely, in an informal way. It's better to have parents sitting close to the children than to use an imposing stage.
The clothing issue is easily solved. You need to talk about what everyone will wear the week before. Fancy dress is not necessary and can be an imposition on parents. A few choice props are enough to conjure up a scene or setting. (Sorry guys, the picture below might be a bit girly for you. I do realize there are male teachers out there! I just couldn't find anything more neutral in the time I had.)
To prevent children from freezing up from shyness start the show with collective language games. Feature vocabulary the kids have learned during the term. Children could go up to the audience and point to different colours they are wearing, or show them a picture flashcard. This way the kids make direct contact with the audience and feel less intimidated. They realize that they don't bite! Then do a song with actions collectively. This warms the kids up and gets them used to performing in front of the audience.
Next do some short role-plays, perhaps just a question and answer exchange, to show off some more language learned. And the finale is the skit. By now the kids are used to being in the limelight and are not tongue-tied when it comes to their lines.
My plays and skits for children are perfect if you are looking for suitable scripts.
I'm here to help if you need me. Use the comments box below to ask me any questions you like.
Shelley Ann Vernon