“Your play needs no excuse�? Shakespeare and language development in children

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Operating from the premise that “education begins at birth,�? The English Nanny and Governess School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, trains its students to view their work as education, rather than as child care, and instructs them in such subjects as psychological development, behavior, creative play, art, and literature. The Language Arts curriculum I designed while teaching and serving as Program Coordinator in Language, Communication, and Early Childhood Literature there from 1998 to 2000, focused on the connections between literature and language acquisition and development. The students, who had weekly day-long in-home practicum sessions with families, introduced their children to Shakespeare’s poetry not only by reading aloud, but also by extending the reading experience in creative play sessions. The nannies designed games and other creative play exercises to be used in conjunction with readings of Shakespeare’s poetry as they had traditionally done for the non-Shakespearean texts used in the course. For example, activities associated with reading a story such as “Peter Rabbit�? might include planting a garden like Mr. MacGregor’s, writing answer stories from the perspective of one of Peter’s sisters, or making sock puppets and acting out the story, depending on the age of the children involved and the pedagogical objective of each exercise.1 The theoretical components of the course examined poetic techniques used by children’s authors such as Dr. Seuss, A. A. Milne, and Robert Louis Stevenson-rhetorical strategies similar to those used in “L�?iterature typically considered much more “sophisticated.�? My objective in including Shakespeare in the Language Arts curriculum was to explore the important developmental influences available through exposure to Shakespearean poetic structure.2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReimagining Shakespeare for Children and Young Adults
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781135363284
ISBN (Print)0415803608, 9780415803601
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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