So, what makes this resource different? In short, an imaginary tree frog called Gary – but more of that in a moment.
‘The Way I Feel’ is a drama-based, social and emotional learning resource for children aged 3-5, supporting the EYFS. The activity pack includes six weekly drama activities, six corresponding extension tasks, printable documents and teacher training videos – all for only £35.
Pyjama Drama has been inspiring children and promoting well-being through imaginative play since 2005, and this activity pack is the perfect way to bring six weeks’ worth of Pyjama Drama magic into your setting at an incredible price.
“And in truth,” says co-founder, Sarah Owen, “the activities you deliver will stay in your setting way beyond the six weeks, and that’s because you’ll learn an invaluable Pyjama Drama technique that will show you how to bring this imaginary frog to life so convincingly, that he’s likely to live in your setting and continue supporting your children’s well-being for weeks and months to come.”
Each of the six weekly activities are supported by a teacher training video, delivered by fellow co-founder Sarah Rijnen. She’ll show you exactly how to bring Gary to life and how to deliver each of the resulting drama activities.
“Ah I can hear the sharp intakes of breath at the word ‘drama’,” smiles Sarah Owen.
“Some people are understandably a bit put off by the idea that this is drama, but really, what early years practitioner can’t make children laugh by singing a silly song or bring a story to life by putting on different voices? That’s a perfect example of ‘doing drama’. It’s just another word for play.”
This activity pack promises that everyone, even those with no prior drama experience or who consider themselves to be naturally shy, can bring Gary to life and deliver the activities with ease. They’re so confident of this fact, that they offer a 30-day money back guarantee (which, they hasten to add, they haven’t had to use as yet!).
Gary is a mixed-up tree frog; one minute he’s happy, the next he’s frustrated, one day he’s yellow, the next he’s grey. With the help of his new-found friends (the children!), he learns how to recognise, name and manage these big emotions.
“Practitioners are constantly amazed by how influential someone so small can be. Gary becomes a friend, confidant and mentor – highly skilled at helping the children learn how to manage their emotions,” says Sarah.
“And of course, you’ll have a room full of ‘Garys’ before you know it,” adds fellow co-founder, Rachel McKenna. “The technique you’ll use to bring Gary to life is what we call ‘Secondary Characters’,” she continues.
“A secondary character is an imaginary ‘friend’ which we introduce to the children through drama, harnessing their natural instinct to make-believe and play. What begins with the practitioner holding a single Gary in the palm of their hand, very quickly becomes every child gently holding their own ‘Gary’ – and that’s when you know they believe in him and, as a result, the learning they experience is all the more powerful.”
The drama activities included in ‘The Way I Feel’ range from imaginative games to music and movement activities, plus there’s a very catchy original song and music video aptly named, ‘Gary the Mixed Up Frog’, which sees Gary experiencing a range of emotions and learning how to deal with them. Frustrated? Time to take a breath; Confused? Time to talk about it; Angry? Time to count to three; Lonely? Time to find a friend.
Watch ‘Gary the Mixed Up Frog’ here:
“The song acts as a simple but really effective way for practitioners to bring Gary to life for the first time,” explains Rachel, “and the song not only introduces children to vocabulary beyond simply ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ but teaches them strategies for dealing with those emotions.”
‘The Way I Feel’ also comes with six extension tasks, one of which is a ‘play at home’ task. “It’s really important to us that parents and carers are involved in the children’s learning,” Rachel continues, “That’s why the pack includes a letter to send home and a ‘play at home’ task which involves children looking after Gary for a night. It gives parents another ‘way in’ to talking to their little ones about their emotions and helping them to learn how to express themselves.”
It’s clear that by participating in these activities children not only have fun but develop their emotional vocabulary and their ability to express and manage emotions. They have a new ‘friend’ who can continue to support their social and emotional learning long after the activities have been delivered, and practitioners have a skill which they can continue to use to boost learning. That’s a whole lot of value for a small price, and an even smaller tree frog!
This downloadable activity pack includes:
London Early Years Foundation