Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The contribution of drama in education to discourse-making and language development in the Foundation Stage curriculum

By Eleni Kanira


The importance of early childhood education in children's social, emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual development is only recently gaining coinage in the formal education system in the UK, despite the fact that extensive research has been conducted in the fields of child development and child psychology for many years. Such studies reveal the importance of a child centred, humanising education in the development of the young child, and pay particular attention to the role and value of language acquisition and meaningful language use in the holistic education of young children.\ud Against the background of a newly introduced early years curriculum in the UK (2000), this study traces the historical origin of early childhood education and the socio-cultural, political and economic factors that impact upon its delivery and implementation in various curricula, both nationally and internationally. The recent Foundation Stage curriculum document (2000) identifies language, play and human interaction as tools not only for the development of personal, social and linguistic skills but also as key processes of learning and teaching in early childhood education. However, in the absence of a well developed methodology and with insufficient Early Years training for the Foundation Stage Curriculum (2000), language teaching and learning is generally regarded more as a preparation for the formal school curriculum rather than in the context of discourse and communication for the development of personal and social skills. This situation has led to a considerable degree of professional conflict and insecurity amongst Early Years practitioners about the aims of the new curriculum and its implementation.\ud The thesis argues that young children develop holistically (cognitively, personally and socially) through the medium of 'speech' and 'discourse', and that language is a social construct and a product of human culture. Therefore in early years, language and literacy development cannot be separated from the child's social world and the focus, in terms of teaching and learning, should be on discourse-making: the making, negotiation and development of rules, terms and conditions of the child's social world. This can offer children the linguistic resources they need to be confident and secure in familiar and unfamiliar environments and to problem-solve, organise and maintain their social worlds. The thesis argues that play and well structured Drama in Education activities can provide opportunities for meaningful communication and discourse. Drawing from the research findings, a model to structure and develop children's play for personal, social and linguistic development through Drama in Education is proposed. It will be shown that drama contains interactive tools and meaningful forms of learning which can assist teachers to create living contexts and fictitious worlds with the children within which the different functions of language can be identified and developed

Topics: LB, P1
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1986). A Study of Thinking Transaction Books doi
  2. (1994). An introduction to Functional Gramma 2 rw edit.
  3. (1977). An outli e of a theory of gractice
  4. (1997). Before writing: rethinking the paths to literacy. Routledge: London and New doi
  5. (1974). Beyond the Information Given: Studies in the Psychology of Knowing George Allen
  6. (1984). Brecht in context: comparative approach
  7. (1964). Brecht on theatre: the development of an aesthetic Methuen; London doi
  8. (1998). Building Bridges: Laying the Foundations for a Child-Centred Curriculum in Drama and Education The National Association for the Teaching of Drama; Birmingham 0'
  9. (1984). Classroom Activities for Enqaqinq Students in Leaming Pembroke Publishers; Ontario Neelands,
  10. (1976). Cohesion in English Longman;
  11. (1989). Comprehending Oral and written Language Acade
  12. (1986). Constructivist, Interpretivist Approaches to Human Inouiry. In
  13. (1985). Culture. Communication and Cognition: Vv-qotskian Perspectives Cambridge
  14. (1976). Dorothy Heathcote: Drama as a Learning Medium Stanley Thornes; London
  15. (2001). Drama Education in the Lives of Girls
  16. (1982). Drama Structures: a practical handbook for teachers,
  17. (1975). Entry into Early Language: A Spiral CurTiculum, paper delivered at the University College of Swansea on March 13 as part of the Charles Gittins memorial lecture
  18. (1953). Feeling and Form Scribner's;
  19. (1935). From Birth to Maturity: An Outline of the Psychological Development of the child Routledge and Kegan; London doi
  20. (1973). Grundrisse Translated by Martin Nicolaus Random house;
  21. handbook of Qualitative Research doi
  22. (1986). Learning to Use Language Oxford University Press;
  23. (1985). Naturalistic Inguiry Sage; Beverly Hills,
  24. (1994). New Horizons in Linguistics Penguin Books; London Carey,
  25. (1996). Nursery Education: Desirable Outcomes for Children's Learninq on Enterinq Compulsory Education School Curriculum and Assessment Authority Department for Education and Employment
  26. (2000). Paradigmatic Controversies.
  27. (1991). Play 2nd ed.
  28. (1992). Publications of the Training School at
  29. (1975). Reflections on Language Random House; London Chomsky, N. (1975b) Aspects of the theory of syntax,
  30. (1971). Rime and Reason in Literature Seymor Chatman
  31. (1977). Robert Owen as an Educato Twayne;
  32. (1999). Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideology in Discourses 2nd edn. Taylor doi
  33. (1984). Sources Close to the Prime Minister Macmillan; London
  34. (1986). Speech genres and other later essays University of Texas Press;
  35. (1994). Starting Drama Teaching David Foulton;
  36. (1990). Structuring Drama Work CUP;
  37. (1988). Textual Matters: The Social Effectiveness of Style
  38. (1998). The Ascent of Science Oxford
  39. (1987). The collected works of L. doi
  40. (1979). The Foucoult Reader Penguin; London
  41. (1997). The Handbook of Sociolinquistics Blackwell; Oxford Comenius,
  42. (1961). The Role of Speech in the Regulation of Normal and Abnormal Behaviour Irvington;
  43. (1985). Vvqotskv-and the social formation of mind.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.