It is never too early to introduce our children to the world of theater – and what better city in which to do it than NYC! These classes provide our little ones with incredible learning experiences that intertwine acting, storytelling, writing, and improvisation. These classes allows children to explore their imagination, which in turn helps their emotional, social, gross motor, and cognitive development. Most importantly, these classes will empower your children, build their self-confidence, and allow children to later become proactive members of society.
And not only does acting allow your child to be creative & silly – from a speech pathologist’s point of view, it encourages increased expressive language production and improves her receptive language, pragmatic and play skills. It allows children to practice following commands with increased difficulty, recall specific characters and events from stories, engage in conversation, and practice humor.
According to milestones, at around 2-3 years of age, your child is starting to develop dramatic play skills, also known as pretend play. For instance, at home you might see him pretend to make a snack in his play kitchen or pretend to build a house with his toolbox and legos. Feel free to encourage this creativity by providing him with dress-up clothing and related items – fireman’s outfit, chef’s hat, pots and pans, tiara, etc.
If you want your child to build upon more of these skills, we have come up with a list of some our favorite acting classes in NYC. They allow children as young as 2-years-old to dabble in some Shakespeare! Enjoy your acting adventures and let your imagination run wild!
TADA! Youth Theater – What a perfect name for an awesome theater company! Their philosophy is an ensemble-based approach, which encourages an active learning environment for a range of ages and levels (their youngest actors are 2 years old!) Theater on Their Scales (T.O.T.S.) involves 2-3-year-olds with their caregivers. It targets language and coordination through musical movement, cooperative play, and sign language. Overall, classes are taught by a team of 2 experienced artists. Most series of classes end in a “Sharing”, which is also recorded to send to families. Free sample classes are also offered & there is a Spring/Summer Open House on Saturday April 26th, 2014! Don’t miss out!
Child’s Play NY – Not only does this program have birthday parties and camps for children, but they also provide classes for children as young as 2 to 3 years old. They engage in pretend play involving storytelling, song, and movement. Children are encouraged to collaborate with each other and refine their listening skills. From princess to superhero – your children’s favorite characters come to life! And as children get older, they put on entertaining performances for friends and family – sample videos can be seen on the website!
Studio Creative Play – Creativity is what is stressed in this program! They encourage parents and caregivers to take part in their child’s exploration to show you how you can enrich your child’s play. Experts guide you and your child through theme based creative play sessions and provide you with language that can encourage further imagination. A big difference between this program and others is that it is simply experience-based and not goal oriented. Their desire is for children to naturally create projects and activities by discussing ideas and through interaction. Throughout the classes, portfolios are created for each child to depict your child’s creative development. This includes photography, recording, and videotaping.
Harlem School of the Arts – Theater Program Director, Willie Teacher, has created an incredible theater program that employs the “traditional arts conservatory approach.” The purpose of the school is for children to develop an appreciation and understanding of theatre, so that they can later be prepared for professional demands. Children as young as 2 years old can participate! Alumni of Harlem School of the Arts have been cast in Broadway shows, television shows, films, and commercials. Thus, as you can see, it gives children a solid foundation. Not only are your children having fun and exploring, but they are also being taught by world renowned artists!
Atlantic Acting School – At this amazing school, the youngest of actors get to engage in role-play and bring their favorite characters and stories to life! They note that a small amount of memorization is involved, which is fantastic because when your child gets to school they will already have such skills in place. The youngest performers include pre-K to Kindergarten 4-5 year olds. At the end of the series, your child will put on a performance for all her family and friends with all her fellow tiny actors!
Alpin Rezvani, M.A., CCC-SLP, graduated from New York University with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (ASHA). She has New York licensure in Speech-Language Pathology and earned her degree as a Teacher of the Speech and HearingHandicapped. She was an adjunct instructor at New York University and was a speech-language pathologist for the New York City Department of Education. She now practices privately and is co-owner of Gift of Gab Resources. She co-authored three chapters (Community-Based Speech-Language Pathology; Joint Action Routines; Feeding & Language Strategies for Mealtime) in the latest version of “Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism” and is PROMPT trained. She provides speech and language workshops for families and professionals throughout New York City.
Debbie Shiwbalak, M.A., CCC-SLP, is an undergraduate of St. John’s University where she received her Baccalaureate of Arts in Speech Pathology in 1999, and is a graduate of Long Island University-CW Post Campus, where she received a Master of Arts in Speech Pathology in 2001. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and is licensed by the state of New York to practice speech-language pathology. Debbie is PROMPT trained and has had 13 years experience as a speech pathologist in the New York City area and has been in private practice for 7 years. She is also the co-founder of Gift of Gab Resources. Debbie has co-authored the chapter on ‘Feeding & Language Strategies for Mealtime’ in the latest version of “Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism”. She provides speech and language workshops for families and professionals throughout New York City.
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