Working with different age groups
What are the differences between classes for 4-7s and 7-12s at Perform?
Lucy explains how 7-12s benefit from a more collegiate approach, more challenging material and an emphasis on independence and responsibility.
5 key differentiations
One of the biggest differences between our two age groups is independence within our classes which is welcomed by our older children. In 7-12s classes, we have sections in which children are able to work within groups to devise scenes and then present them to the rest of the class. Whether they're creating a trailer for their upcoming production or working on an improvisation to explore our weekly focus, the children relish the chance to put forward their own ideas and are often excited for an opportunity to perform in front of the group.
In our 7-12s classes we give children more responsibility around our end of term presentation and develop confidence by encouraging them to put forward their suggestions and workshopping ideas through improvisation. This level of responsibility gives the children a real sense of pride and the confidence they learn can also help them in the school environment. It can be very rewarding to see the progress in this important area.
3. Trickier material
The material for our 7-12s productions is more complex than 4-7s and purposefully so. Drawing inspiration from Shakespeare and classics such as A Christmas Carol, we facilitate an opportunity to broaden the children’s knowledge of literature as well as the performing arts. We continue to focus on enthusiasm and engagement in the activities rather than precision and ability to learn moves but we place more emphasis on vocal and dance techniques. This includes beginning to explore the difference in genres such as tragedies, comedies and pantomime. The step up in material presents a challenge for the children, whilst also encouraging those who have a keen interest in theatre.
4. Focus of the week
All of our classes have a weekly focus but they are very different. A recent week for 7-12s was about being democratic. While in the younger class, we discussed this on a basic level to introduce an understanding of fairness, for 7-12s we developed the children’s ability to speak up in discussions. This week, we role-played a courtroom scene about whether homework should be banned in school! Sharing ideas in a healthy debate gets children thinking for themselves, while learning to listen to opposing ideas can lead to thoughtful responses. Exercises like these in a safe and fun environment can reflect positively in school when children are required to present to the rest of the class and can also be helpful for selective school interviews in which children are often asked to speak about one of their hobbies.
Of course, this is something that we focus on in both age ranges. However, for 7-12s, the pressure at school can increase so we ensure that children have a release from the structured environment. Children often request certain games and activities in class that allow them to lose inhibitions and be a little bit silly which can be lost as they grow up. The importance of this shouldn't be underestimated. For example, in a 'why are you late' school role-play, one child plays the role of the pupil to another child who is playing the role of the teacher with the rest of the class behind them. The class mime a story for the ‘pupil’ to tell the ‘teacher’ as to why they are late and are encouraged to be as outrageous and creative as they like. The ‘pupil’ then recites what they see the children acting out. From falling into the sea and being chased by a shark to an alien invasion, this activity challenges children to think on their feet and speak in front of the class, but it also invites a lot of laughter and silliness!
There are many important differences between age-group classes which ensure development continues and children are challenged as they get older all while maintgaining the central ethos of Perform's Learning through Laughter.
To book a 7-12s class for your child, find your local venue here.