Journey into a land of magic

22nd September 1995 at 01:00
Sarah Pawson is a drama specialist and reception teacher at Belleville infants school in Wandsworth, south London. In a drama session with a class of Year 1s, she uses the theme of story and imagination to embark on a journey for a magic treasure chest in Storyland.

She introduces the idea of the magic treasure chest, getting the children to suggest how to get to Storyland, what it is like, how the chest might be opened, what is inside.

To get to Storyland, they close their eyes and imagine where the key might be, with the help of a sprinkling of magic dust. When they open their eyes, Sarah is in front of them wearing a magician's robe. The children say they saw "wizards, dragons, spiders, pink and purple dinosaurs, books that come alive and a multicoloured man".

Sarah Pawson incorporates this last "vision" of the multicoloured man into the story. The children must find him because he has taken the key from the magic treasure chest. "He might talk a different story language; he might talk like in stories," the children offer. With the children's help, SarahThe Multicoloured Man starts a story. Each child adds to the previous teller's offering until finally the children try to prevent the Man from going away. "We can't get back to our country without you," says one little boy, with undiluted earnestness.

Afterwards, Sarah is buoyant. "Today, the children were able to access language much more than they could in the classroom. Being in role enables them to explore the possibilities of language and allows them to let go of you, the teacher. From the lesson I had originally planned, the kids today made it a hundred times more interesting. As a teacher, doing drama is about having the confidence to pick up the children's ideas and change direction."

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