By: Alexandra Laura Kavanaugh
Every parent dreams of their child growing into a successful adult. We push our children to work hard in school so they can become proficient in math, science, reading, and writing…But is that enough? To achieve success within most careers, people will also need to learn to effectively communicate through speech. However, communication strategies are not often taught explicitly alongside academic skills in U.S. classrooms. Embodied Minds Kids classes can supplement your child’s inherent strengths by increasing their confidence and communication skills!
Embodied Minds Kids was born from Embodied Minds, a private company that offers public speaking consultation and life coaching to adults. The co-founders of Embodied Minds, Leticia Warner and Shira Lahav, are both registered drama therapists who use dramatic techniques and psychotherapy to help professionals and students reduce their underlying anxiety around public speaking. In treating adults, they noticed that many of their clients had traumatic public speaking experiences during their childhood or adolescence. As they both became mothers, they realized how important it was to teach effective communication skills to children at a young age, in order to prevent struggling to present oneself effectively as an adult.
What is Drama Therapy? Drama therapy is a creative arts psychotherapy that uses many of the different techniques used in the theater, such as improvisation, storytelling, embodiment, and role play. Drama Therapy works to enhance an individual’s creativity and spontaneity, making them more adept at handling the turbulence of everyday life. Children are actually the ideal clients for drama therapy because, unlike adults, they are naturals at “play”. Typically, children don’t have the fear and insecurities that often keep adults from speaking up or performing in front of others.
How does drama help kids learn public speaking skills? Research done on drama classes in schools have proven that participating in dramatic activities significantly increases students’ confidence and self-esteem, key ingredients for a strong presenter! Working on improvisation helps your child to think on their feet. Practicing vocal skills such as projection and enunciation helps your child to be more articulate and easily understood. Working with movement and embodiment helps your child to understand non-verbal communication–Kids will learn that their bodies “tell” a lot about how they’re feeling or what they want to say verbally.
Embodied Minds Kids Classes will be separated into four age groups: 7-9 year olds, 10-11 year olds, 12-14 year olds, and 15-17 year olds. By participating in groups, children will learn how to be excellent listeners and to effectively collaborate with others.
Each group is designed to be developmentally appropriate for the children:
• The 7-9 year old group will focus on developing social skills through play and creative drama. Through the use of sound and movement, children will learn how their voices and bodies can communicate with an audience. They will learn to introduce themselves to others using eye contact and a confident tone of voice!
• The 10-11 year-old group will continue to work with sound and movement as they learn to present themselves confidently to others! They will explore improvisation and role play to help develop spontaneity in their speech and movement. As these children prepare to enter Middle School, the group will participate in drama activities that bolster self-esteem to help develop a confident speaking voice.
• The 12-14 year-old group will continue to focus on the development of self-esteem in how they present themselves, as they enter into the tumultuous world of adolescence. The students will learn about how to speak differently to various audiences through improvisation and scene work. They will practice skills such as posture, tone, subtext, and gesture as they develop the facets of their emerging identities and respond to the demands of their academic and social worlds.
• The 15-17 year old group will focus on preparing the teens for the challenges of high school, college, and a career as they develop more advanced public speaking skills such as clarity, pace, and the elimination of filler words “um” or “like”. These skills will come in handy as this age group embarks on challenges such as college or job interviews, as well as intimidating school presentations.
Our goal at Embodied Minds Kids is to help your child present themselves confidently and have a blast while they do it!
Alexandra Laura Kavanaugh is a licensed Theater Educator and Kids Coach with Embodied Minds Public Speaking Consultants, LLC.