Understanding Culturally Responsive Play Through Drama-Based Pedagogy

Understanding Culturally Responsive Play Through Drama-Based Pedagogy

Holly B. McCartney, Joshua Rashon Streeter, Aaron T. Bodle
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5089-2.ch014
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


In this chapter, the authors outline three critical professional and ethical considerations for school leaders in early childhood settings to consider when examining the importance of including play in early childhood curricula. Beginning with an exploration of the critical role play serves in the lives of young children and positing that fundamentally, play is broadly supported across the domains of early childhood through theoretical and empirical work as well as more recent scientific support from neurological research. The authors outline a broader definition of play beyond a Eurocentric vision, and the ways in which school administrators can and should view play as culturally responsive pedagogy through the use of drama-based pedagogy.
Chapter Preview


The importance and necessity for play in early childhood curriculum is well documented and understood by early childhood teachers and subject experts. The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) position paper on developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) states that “play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, and social competence” (2009, p.14). NAEYC’s position papers are developed using a consensus building approach, with input from subject matter experts as well as multiple opportunities for member input and feedback. It is important to note that the NAEYC DAP/Diversity, Equity and Early Learning Systems workgroup is currently rewriting the position paper on DAP and has developed a new position paper on Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education ensuring all children have access to equitable learning opportunities (2019). In this chapter the authors outline three critical professional and ethical considerations for school leaders in early childhood settings to consider when examining the importance of including play in early childhood curricula: The role of play in early childhood educational settings, a broader definition of play including culturally responsive play with drama based pedagogy as an example, and recommendations for school leaders and teachers who wish to implement the ideas presented in this chapter.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Drama-Based Pedagogy: A codified system of strategies that allow for the integration of drama and theatre into other subject areas.

Pedagogy: The method and practice of teaching.

National Association For The Education of Young Children (NAEYC): The world’s largest professional organization of early childhood professionals.

Tools of Drama: Voice, body, and imagination.

Arts Integration: A specific approach to teaching that integrates an art form into another subject area.

Early Childhood: Usually defined as birth to year 8 and as a time of tremendous physical, cognitive, socio-emotional, and language development.

Social Constructivism: A learning theory that suggests knowledge is built and understood through interactions with one another.

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: An approach to teaching that honors individual student’s cultural frames of reference and heritage and culture as vital to the teaching and learning process.

Curriculum: A roadmap or guideline of any given discipline.

Side-Coaching: A teacher supporting learning from the side while a student or group of students engage in a task.

Drama for Schools: A research-driven professional development program from the University of Texas at Austin that uses DBP strategies.

Play: Something fun and that all children do. A way in which children learn.

Constructivism: An approach to learning that holds people actively construct or make their own knowledge and that reality is determined by the experiences of the learner.

Reflection on the Drama Experience: An intentional moment during instruction where students reflect on how they used their body, voice, and imagination and how the play connects to the non-arts subject area.

Ethics: A set of moral principles that govern a person’s behavior.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice: An approach to teaching grounded in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about effective early education.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: