It will be no surprise to most parents these days to hear how important play is to a child’s early development. Through play, small children and babies explore their world, develop key motor skills and generally wiggle and giggle their way towards becoming social beings.  A toddler doesn’t merely like the look of bubbles as they dance above his head; his brain is marvelling at how and why this magic works! Your baby is not just throwing a ball at your head to make you squeal (no, but it IS a happy coincidence) she’s also discovering how to wrap her paw around this enticingly round object and, just like that a flick of the arm propels it through the air! By making your mud pies in the back garden, your kids are mimicking your coffee dates and dinner parties, copying all those little social interactions, and in doing so are rehearsing for a lifetime of their own.

Parent & Toddler 3What some parents DO need reminding of is that you are your little one’s first play partner and a Parent & Toddler class is the ideal environment in which to jump-start your playful side! A Parent & Toddler class is all about fun, togetherness and leaving the inhibitions of the grown-up world at the door, and so it is fitting that drama should be the medium for this. Whether you are a primary school kid in a school pageant or an octogenarian actor treading the boards of the National Theatre, drama is in essence playful. Communication through the arts is acknowledged as part of the Department of Education’s Early Education Programme – Aistear. Aistear encourages children to learn, question and explore their own identity through drama, music and the visual arts and as such, toddler drama classes give your child a head start on what is now an integral part of Montessori and Primary school curriculums nationwide.
In Parent & Toddler Drama your child will get physical exploring movement, develop language skills through simple rhymes and story-telling and spark their imagination and little brain cells on a multi-sensory level through colour, touch and sound. Perhaps even more importantly they’ll love seeing Mammy and Daddy acting silly, laughing and doing all those crazy things it’s not always easy to find time to do. And yes, you’ll love it too!

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Parent & Toddler Drama starts 16th January from 10am-11am at The Gaiety School of Acting in Temple Bar. Term 3 kicks off on April 16th. €100 for the term and bookings can be made at 016799277 or at gaietyschool.com

This article was originally published in Easy Parenting Magazine’s Feb/March issue.