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Drama Rainbow: Creative discovery for kids

By Wang Xin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-12 10:40

Finding each talent

Drama Rainbow: Creative discovery for kidsAt standard schools, children are rated according to scores. Failure to secure a satisfactory ranking leaves them and their parents worried.

The rules of the educational jungle do not apply to Drama Rainbow. The purpose of education is not to judge whether students are good or bad, but to encourage their growth, Wang said. "Every child is talented in some ways. The key is to locate where their advantages are and find the appropriate learning channels."

She cited one student, aged 3, who has a strong sense of direction and can lead his grandpa to the subway and know where to go.

Another example is an 8-year-old boy who has already published a handbook of pencil drawings.

"He starts drawing from details, rather than from a framework at first," Wang said. "Apparently he has already pictured in his mind what he plans to draw before touching a pencil."

But such a quiet talent may get frustrated if he signs up for a speech program. The wrong decision could damage his development, she said.

Wang believes that every student is unique and has huge potential. As the school name indicates, what Drama school is working on is using an artistic way to help children and their parents find the best way from various colorful options.

"The first step is observation," she said. At Drama Rainbow, teachers try to make a judgment on the direction of a student's growth after reviewing class records and frequent talks with their parents.

Likened to jade carving, which requires sculptor to take time to decide what the stone at hand can be shaped into, a full-fledged educator also needs observation to weigh the most suitable "learning channel" for children.

The specially designed dramas provide the students opportunities for self-discovery and development, she said.

"When children have come to know what their edge is, it helps to build confidence," she said. "This, in turn, will bring about interest in other subjects including those they are not that expert at - they need a fulcrum."

Lifelong experience

While the pioneer model is still gearing up, more than 300 students have benefited from it to date.

To popularize ideas on drama in education, the school also organized a commercial performance of children's plays by an adult cast.

The Box Room was staged 16 times at the National Theater of China in Beijing in June, offering the audience a new perspective on self-discovery and re-examining family relations. Next year, a new "theater in education" will continue the effort.

Wang said her school is at the forefront in the world in the approach, with foreign experts joining the program.

Branding Director Kang Shaoyang wrote on its official website that "as parents we only get one chance to raise our children".

"The best gift we can ever give our child is confidence."

Teacher Supervisor Chris Cooper said that "drama is the mirror of our society - let 's make this mirror as clean as possible, enabling the future generation to see themselves much clearer and help them make a better choice for a better future."

"Learning is not a subject specially for 3 years old or 6 years old. It lasts through the entire life," Wang said. Too much frustration in childhood will stymie their interest in learning, and maintaining curiosity is the best teacher to motivate their sustained exploration of the world around them, Wang noted

"Some learning is needed, some is vanity and some is waste of time," she said. "Our children grow so fast. We don't want to waste their time."

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