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 to acquire the necessary skills needed for these situations, while also teaching them spontaneity and the ability to think on their feet.
In our own experiences as adults, we know that confident people can take over an entire group project, often leaving quieter, less confident souls with no room for input. Speech and 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. She, however, amazed teachers and pupils when cast in a main role, by the appointed Drama teacher, in the end of year junior primary school production.
On stage, this shy child transformed into a self-assured, confident young actress. She became a member of The Loft Theatre Company at The Playhouse in Durban and gained invaluable experience on stage. 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, 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 greater Durban.
‘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 freely, without 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 for mankind.
5. To develop clear and eloquent speakers.
6. To have fun.
5 tips for parents 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.
‘Speech and drama is a method rather than a subject and these all important foundations are presented in fun, engaging lessons that are now being offered in a new private venue at The Durban North Community Church in Mackeurtan Ave,’ says Colleen.
Details: www.stagecoach-studio.co.za, 0837766003