Young children learn to walk and speak primarily through imitation. They learn about their personal histories and group identities through stories their families tell. They integrate this information with data from other sources in their environments, forming their own identities through activities such as dramatic play. These natural processes of child development form the basis of theatre education in the early grades.
The focus of elementary theatre is creative drama, a form of theatre in which teachers guide learners through processes of imagination, enactment, and reflection.
A form of playacting based on improvised dramatization, creative drama uses stories drawn from literature, history, and current events to inspire children’s original thought. The success of creative drama depends on the choice of relevant, appropriate resource materials. In kindergarten through grade 5, teachers and students use printed materials solely as a resource to stimulate their imaginations.
Theatre education provides excellent opportunities for children to explore and experience connections to other historical periods and cultures. The theatre TEKS are closely aligned with the social studies curriculum in elementary school, providing teachers with opportunities to teach theatre processes and knowledge while enhancing students' understanding of the world around them.