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Preschool Concerts and Plays:  It's All in the Focus!

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!

Keep the Focus on THEM When Planning!

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!

5 Success Tips for Preschool Concerts and Plays

  • Define their personal space.  Provide circle mats or carpet squares set up on the area you will use.  This allows the children to have their own personal space and allow families to see their child.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff!  If a child starts hopping on their mat, well, they have energy!  Perhaps it's time to do a more upbeat song to get them to move!  Don't be afraid to change up the order!  The kids are singing their favorite songs, THEY don't care what order they do them in!
  • Choose concert songs based on what they know!  Prepare well in advance.  Don't teach children new songs or plays to learn 3 weeks before a program date!  Build your programs out of what your children already love and know!  Choose a favorite theme or topic and build around that!
  • Expect preschool behavior, not elementary behavior!  Take a potty run before the program...no, they can NOT hold it! Insist that every "tries" before the program.  Expect one of your children to decide that their dress or shirt looks really cool when it flares out and they twirl around....and for them to twirl a couple of times! Expect them to be excited and wave to their family mid song!  Basically, as Billy Dean sings, "Let Them Be Little" (get out the tissues before you listen to this song!). Yes, redirect them, but expect your preschoolers to act like preschoolers! 
  • Plan for the Wiggles:  They Happen!  Expect them because they WILL happen in the middle of your program!  Let's talk a little more about this one!  Click the picture below for information and working out the wiggles ideas!


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