Theater as a school and after school activity for children
Youth theater should be an after school activity offered to children as a standard option. To be able to participate in theater, the child does not have to be an artist and have a born skill for it. Instead, it would be enough for the kid to have the will to have fun, enjoy himself, a desire to interpret (and make up) stories, but mostly, make friends. Theater schools, via games and group activities, are the perfect medium to help children develop their speaking skills, their motor-expression skills, it helps develop their memory and mental agility skills. Through the practice of dialog and tongue-twisters, it helps improve their diction, as well.
Through performing arts, a child builds his self-esteem, learns to respect and coexist with others, learn how to recognize and control their emotions, discover discipline that comes with practice and repetition and more importantly, how to be around others.
There are a number of side benefits to a child getting involved in theater: It reinforces academic chores, like reading and literature; it enhances their knowledge of vocabulary, art and history; it teaches socialization – particularly in those kids that have a hard time communicating; it enhances concentration; it teaches values; it promotes the development of their senses and the exercise of thought; it stimulates creativity and imagination and improves their overall self-confidence.
The best age for children to begin theater lessons is around five years old. At this age he should be ready to read and understand words and their memory retention is very good.
But the reality is that if your child begins taking part in theater at age five, it does not mean he will be on his way to Hollywood for you to become his agent and manage his career. Kids at that age are really not even interested in learning (or know that they are learning, for that matter) theater skills. They just play around and learn to participate and be a part of a group. Youth theater cases are more therapeutic and socializing than anything else. For the little tikes, it shouldn’t be about self-promoting and creating “little famous starts”, but rather a way to develop some skills through games.