Class plays are a longstanding tradition at Waldorf schools around the world, including the Waldorf Academy in Toronto.
Most schools will put on a school play that students audition for only if they have the interest in drama and the arts.
At Waldorf, however, each class will put on its own play, and each student in that class will participate, making it a unique approach to dramatic theatre in a school system.
These class plays, although they are performed for students and parents, are not produced for the purpose of theatre itself, but because it is being used as a pedagogical tool by our teachers.
What Is A Pedagogical Drama?
A pedagogical drama is one that is performed for the sake of what can be learned from it, rather than for the sake of theatre itself.
The reason is that students can learn much more from working together on such a project than they can from studying books – the soft skills they develop are valuable.
This is a very different approach from usual Toronto private schools, but it’s one that we’ve found is a significant learning experience for our students.
Putting Together A Waldorf Play
The teachers are responsible for the casting, and will carefully choose who gets each part, sometimes giving high-profile roles to students who will be challenged and developed by the experience.The intent here is not necessarily to produce the perfect play, but to ensure that students learn from their experience of it.
There are other ways that young minds develop through the process of producing a play, such as by playing musical instruments or singing during the performance. A lot of work goes into the production process itself, meaning students learn to cooperate and collaborate while they are learning to project manage.
A great deal of artistic talent goes into the production beyond the music and the drama itself – the students are engaged in set decoration, costume design and sewing, among many other forms of craft and creation.
The Goal Of A Waldorf Play
The goal of a Waldorf play is to allow the students to apply their knowledge in a practical sense, so they are able to make the connection between theory and reality.
By having to access their learning in order to apply it, they learn the circumstances in which their classes are relevant, and that helps them appreciate and engage more in the classroom.
Teachers are able to break up their teaching segments with a different approach to learning, and many find that both they and the class return to their books afterward with a refreshed focus.
The play that they choose to produce can be used to tie together themes, historical studies or literature that they have studied that year, allowing students to fully understand how each piece of the puzzle fits together to create a complete picture.
For example, they may perform a Shakespeare play, after having studied it. In a case like this, they will have to research the society and architecture of the period in which the play is set to produce an accurate stage upon which to perform the play.They will have to study gender and fashion to produce the costumes; they could be exposed to music from that time period, even.
Through the subject of the play, they may learn about historical politics, even, all the while learning to be creators and cooperators with confidence.
Contact Waldorf Academy
Do you remember your school plays, and how they made a difference in your development?
Many parents who were active in the dramatic arts understand the relevance of our decision to prioritize them in our schools.
Even if you appreciate other forms of art, you will probably agree that having students be involved in producing a school play expands their concept of the world.
Call now to arrange for a tour of Waldorf Academy, and we’ll show you our facilities and give you more information on our world-renowned approach to education.