Most adults know the varying levels of anxiety that can take hold of them when having to present a speech or even attend a job interview. Speech and drama classes can assist your child acquire the skills needed in these situations, while also teaching them spontaneity and the ability to think on their feet.
From our own experiences as adults, we know how confident people can take over an entire group project, often leaving quieter, less confident souls with no room for input. Drama is an effective tool for supporting children who are not good at fitting in or putting themselves forward in a group, and helps to teach them self confidence and self worth.
Colleen Nicholas, a Durban speech and drama teacher, knows all about being shy, having hardly uttered a single syllable when she was in Grade one. But she amazed teachers and pupils at the end of the year when the school’s speech and drama teacher cast her in a main role of the junior school production. On stage, this shy child transformed into a self-assured, confident young actress. As an adult she went on to enjoy many years of theatre and stage experience as a member of The Loft Theatre Company at The Playhouse in Durban.
Years later, after pursuing successful careers in health and fitness and co-owning an interior design business, Colleen missed the theatre. “I returned to study and qualify as a teacher through Trinity College in London, where I obtained my Associate and Licentiate Diploma.” She then combined her life skills and experiences and her love for children and theatre to establish Stagecoach Studio in 2002.
Together with Kavita Trikam, who joined the studio 14 years ago as a speech and drama teacher, the two are appointed speech and drama extra-mural activity teachers in various schools in the greater Durban area. “We are passionate about facilitating young lives to be the best version of themselves and gain the skills required to move forward with confidence in their lives,” says Colleen as she quotes Dr Seuss, “Why fit in if you can stand out?”.
Benefits of speech and drama for kids:
1. To create a safe environment for children to express themselves free of judgement whilst gently pushing their boundaries to gain confidence and self-assurance.
2. To stimulate children’s imaginations and in doing so develop creative thinkers.
3. To develop a child’s interpersonal skills with friends, pupils and teachers which translates into all aspects of their lives.
4. To develop respect and empathy through role play and characterisation, giving children a deeper understanding of mankind.
5. To develop clear and eloquent speakers.
6. To have fun.
“Speech and drama is a method rather than a subject and these all important foundations are presented in fun, engaging lessons. Speech exercises, tongue twisters, poems, monologues, duologues, theme programmes, poetry and scripts that can be shared, practiced and rehearsed with parents,’ says Colleen.
5 tips for parent to help your child speak with confidence:
• Get your child to stand up and speak to you, reciting a poem or just telling you about their day. Also get them to tell other family members about a recent sporting event or school activity.
• Children should write down what they’re going to say – this helps them to plan their speech and become familiar with words.
• Encourage your child to look up and speak with confidence.
• Tell them to practice speaking to a mirror first – a technique used by Winston Churchill, one of the world’s great public speakers.
• If they have to speak at school, get them to focus on the back wall, so the audience doesn’t seem so scary.
Details: www.stagecoach-studio.co.za, 0837766003