Can process drama be used as a tool to help deliver effective learning and teaching within the new play initiative in early years education, in relation to the Curriculum for Excellence?
This study explores if process drama techniques can be used in order to achieve effective learning and teaching within the new early years play initiative. This research was explored through the use of eight practical, structured play and drama workshops which focused on effective learning and teaching methods advocated in the Curriculum for Excellence and underpinned by process drama practices. The effectiveness of the workshops for the child participants have been determined through the success of the curriculum’s four capacities which have been marked by the achievement of the following five qualities; enjoyment, focus, collaboration, confidence and creativity. These qualities have been examined and analysed using data collected by the researcher including observations of the structured play drama workshops which were compared to observations of the children’s free play. Further data was collected from the child participants via a reflective floor book and post-study focus groups, and the class teachers took part in pre and post-study questionnaires which have helped to determine the extent of effective teaching. Additionally, an in-depth interview carried out with the Depute Head Teacher extended the researcher’s understanding of the new play initiative. This study found that process drama can be used to help achieve effective learning and teaching within the play initiative as seen through the improvement of all five qualities. With the findings of this study representative of only one primary school, the effectiveness of using drama within play however, could not be generalised.