When planning for preschool concerts and plays, we sometimes forget that some programs are stressful for children and might be age INappropriate. We forget that our children are still 3, 4 and 5 and, therefore, have just learned over the past year or two, how to engage in cooperative play, let alone interact in a large whole-group production. As I commented earlier, I'm not against group programs! I LOVE them when done well and when planned with the children's abilities and needs in mind!
If you want to, or your program requires, a family program, go for it! However, when planning any type of program for your preschoolers, look at each group individually. And remember: Planning a production should have the same focus as planning a Circle Time activity or a science activity or building in blocks: Base it on your children's abilities based on sound preschool growth and development knowledge, not on what parents will think is cute!
Your group last year may have acted out a few stories and it went GREAT! This year, however, your children may be at a different level. You may have younger children, emotionally and chronologically. You may have children with higher activity levels than last year.
Don't become "stuck" on a specific program. Don't feel you need to do the same thing every year because "that's what you've always done".
Look at your group's interests at the beginning of the school year and consider the above things.
One year you might re-enact stories. The next year you may do active songs or dances that allow your active group to move.
Favorite books and Fairy Tales can become the topic of many a great preschool play!
One year, we had children who just LOVED The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood! They NEVER tired of hearing these stories at Story Time!
We added masks and props at Circle and half the children would act it out while the other half was "the audience" for one story.
We then switched, the audience became the actors for the next story while the previous actors became the audience!
For a play, please keep children with social anxieties in mind! As with any program, find a way for each child to be involved in a way they are comfortable.
We had one child who was extremely shy socially. Standing in front of a group would have made him melt. It was emotionally painful for him.
Rather than insist on him being in the play, he was our "Production Manager". We gave him a few jobs. He handed specific props to characters during the play.
He also helped us "change the scenery" between the 2 plays.
Your success and the children's fun and involvement will be determined by your focus when planning. Plan a program that your CHILDREN will love to participate in because it is focused around their abilities and needs! THIS is what will make your program endearing to the children and their families for years to come!