Play, wonder, create: drama contexts in early childhood

This resource provides a series of activities to introduce students in Foundation to year 2 to drama.

Part 1 is a 'getting started in drama' toolkit that provides techniques and explores basic skills needed to engage in the making and responding that is typical of the art form.

Part 2 is a process drama that allows students to engage in role plays to solve a real problem.

Each part uses a variety of pretexts to set up and stimulate dramatic play. Pictures, props, letters, paintings and teacher-narrated stories provide opportunities for children to use drama skills and tools as they solve problems, explore roles, create dramatic action and present ideas.

Drama in the early years


  • is founded on the principle of the importance of structured dramatic play for young children to promote imagination, creativity and literacy including oracy
  • allows students to enter into different and imagined worlds to explore human behaviour and situations
  • doesn't need elaborate sets and props, but rather the selection of particular pretexts to provide a hook for students
  • is a group art form that creates multiple opportunities to develop social competencies and skills
  • is an experiential, interactive art form that provides students with a safe space to explore the challenges and diversity of the world.

As teachers we can set up and scaffold purposeful dramatic play through the use of a variety of tools and the stimulus of a pretext such as images, letters, teacher narration, props.

Students in drama create roles and situations as they explore and investigate the contexts provided during improvisations, dramatic play and process dramas. During drama students are involved in making (devising, designing, creating, forming, pretending, sharing, presenting) or responding (reflecting, observing, critiquing, viewing). Drama provides contexts to develop narrative competence as students understand and produce their own dramas.

Teaching ideas

  1. Part 1: getting started in drama
  2. Part 2: the Antarctic explorers – a process drama