Theater arts have long been recognized as a valuable tool for building confidence in children. From role-playing to improvisation, drama allows children to explore different roles and express themselves in a safe and supportive environment. It not only encourages creativity and imagination but also helps children develop essential life skills such as communication, teamwork, and critical thinking. In this essay, we will dive deeper into the world of theater arts for children and examine how drama can help build their confidence.
Building confidence in children is crucial as it lays the foundation for their success and well-being in the future. A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that children with high self-esteem are more likely to have positive relationships, perform better academically, and have higher job satisfaction as adults (1). Theater arts provide a unique platform for children to develop a strong sense of self-worth and confidence through various theatrical techniques.
One key component of theater arts that helps build confidence is role-playing. By assuming different roles, children can experiment with different personalities and behaviors, without fear of judgement. This allows them to step out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves in a safe environment. Through role-playing, children learn to be more open-minded and empathetic towards others, enhancing their social skills.
Improvisation is another theatrical technique that can help boost confidence in children. By thinking on their feet and spontaneously creating characters and scenes, children learn to trust their instincts and think creatively. This skill is not only useful when performing on stage but also in real-life situations where quick thinking and adaptability are essential. In a study by the Educational Research and Evaluation Center (EREC), it was found that students who participated in improvisational activities reported higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem (2).
Moreover, theater arts also allow children to explore their emotions in a safe space. Children often struggle with expressing their feelings verbally, but through drama, they can channel their emotions into a character or a scene. This not only helps them process their emotions but also encourages them to be more self-aware and in tune with their emotions. As stated in an article by Psychology Today, “Acting allows for the expression of feelings that are difficult to put into words” (3). By learning how to express their emotions, children develop a better understanding of themselves, increasing their self-confidence.
Furthermore, drama also enables children to develop effective communication skills, a crucial aspect of building confidence. Through drama exercises such as mirroring and body language, children learn how to communicate nonverbally and pick up on others’ gestures and cues. They also practice active listening and learn to respond to their peers’ ideas and perspectives, promoting teamwork and collaboration. In today’s digital age where face-to-face communication is often limited, theater arts provide a much-needed platform for children to hone their communication skills.
Aside from these inherent benefits of theater arts, there have been numerous studies that indicate the positive impact it has on building confidence in children. In a comparative analysis between students who participated in drama activities and those who did not, researchers found that the drama group had significantly higher levels of self-esteem (4). Another study conducted by The Australian National University also found a positive correlation between drama participation and enhanced self-esteem in children (5).
Case studies also highlight the power of drama in building confidence in children. An educational program called “Opening Act” was conducted for tenth-grade students at a high school in the Bronx, New York. The program aimed to improve their communication skills through drama activities. Evaluation results showed that 75% of students reported feeling more confident after participating in the program (6). Another case study by Marquette University focused on the impact of theatre on inner-city at-risk youth and found that theatre activities led to improved self-perception, increased social skills, and boosted confidence among participants (7).
Additionally, theater arts also provide a creative outlet for children to express themselves freely. As stated by the American Alliance for Theater and Education, “When children are given the opportunity to express their own ideas on stage, they become more confident in their ability to make decisions and trust their own creative instincts” (8). This trust in their own abilities helps children feel more confident in their capabilities, both on and off stage.
Moreover, theater arts can be adapted to cater to all children, regardless of their abilities or differences. From inclusive casting to incorporating sign language in performances, drama allows children of all backgrounds to feel seen and heard. This not only boosts their confidence but also promotes inclusivity and diversity.
In conclusion, theater arts offer valuable opportunities for children to build their confidence through various theatrical techniques such as role-playing, improvisation, and emotional exploration. Along with enhancing creativity and imagination, drama also helps develop essential life skills such as communication, teamwork, and critical thinking. The positive impact of theater arts on building confidence in children is well-supported by research studies and case studies. It is clear that drama is a powerful tool for fostering self-esteem and self-worth in children, making it an essential part of their holistic development.
1) Pomerantz, E. M., et al. ”Self-Esteem: A Comparison of Home-schooled and Public-schooled Children.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2010.
2) Solochek, Betsy. “Improv Courses Improvd Students’ Self-Esteem.” Education Week – Wrights Law: Special Education Law & Advocacy News, 4 Oct. 1995.
3) Tartakovsky, Margarita. “Acting to Address Mental Health Issues.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 17 Apr. 2013.
4) LaTrobe University Melbourne “The Arts Build Confidence And Self-esteem In Primary School Children.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2010.
5) Kay-Spratford, Emily et al. “The Impact of Drama Participation on Self-Esteem, Confidence and Social Skills in Secondary School Students.” ResearchGate, The Australian National University, Feb. 2015.
6) The Educational Alliance. “Opening Act: Closing the Achievement Gap Through Theater.” The Educational Alliance, Inc., 2017.
7) Szudy, Mary D. “The Impact of Theatre on Inner City At-Risk Youth: A Qualitative Study Investigating the Perceptions of Participants in a Youth Theater Program.” Marquette University, 2011.
8)“How Drama Builds Self-Esteem.” American Alliance for Theatre & Education, National Endowment for the Arts, 2020.