The telling of fairy tales contributes to our cultural literacy; these well-loved characters are almost like friends, and their stories as familiar to us as our own. Also, because fairy tales don't have to follow the conventions of the 'real' world, they allow us to explore fantastical worlds where anything can happen. And when you explore fairy tales using Pyjama Drama, everything does!Read More
Confidence. A skill not an attribute
Before joining Pyjama Drama, I was a childminder for eight years. I had previously worked in admin at a university in a job where I was bullied. It wasn't just me. This bully was pretty indiscriminate. I had my first baby, and I decided I couldn't go back. At a playgroup in a children's centre, one of the Family Support Workers said, 'Why don't you become a childminder.' I laughed and said, 'Well, let's see, maybe because I've got no experience of working with children? At all. And I’m pretty sure people won't give me their children’. 'Oh, they will’ she assured me, ‘Because you're nice and you're good with kids.'
I tried out the idea on other people, and unbelievably NOBODY laughed. To my surprise, everyone thought it was a great idea. And so I did the basic training course and registered as a childminder. And that lady was right; people DID give me their children. Dozens of them. I turned children away because I was full, a lot more than I accepted them. I had no experience and very few skills, but people trusted me because I found new confidence in making this decision for myself and taking autonomy over my own life.
I'm a graduate and I feel the need to intellectualise everything and so in a year or two, I gained Early Years Practitioner Status, the highest level general qualification in Early Years. I also gained a reputation for building confidence in young children. Children would arrive at my house who wouldn't speak all day. And children about to start school who couldn’t communicate their basic needs, who weren’t even able to answer a simple question like, 'Would you like an apple or a banana?' I had a one hundred per cent success rate with those children, who were soon able to start communicating effectively, and the Primary School teachers could hardly believe that these children had ever been unable to express themselves so recently. I had given them time, space and lots of opportunities to communicate and eventually they all did.
This experience has to lead me to believe that people are not born shy or confident. I'm not talking about overconfidence here. I'm talking about knowing what you can do, within a realistic assessment of your limitations, and being able to say, 'I can do this.' It's not an attribute. It's a skill. And given time and a safe space, you can practice until you are not shy. I've seen it.
Some children present shyness by refusing to talk to anyone, some run around and make silly noises, some just won’t stop talking. But it comes from the same root, a feeling of overwhelm that stops them, to quote Morrissey, ‘from doing all the things in life you’d like to.’
So why did I stop childminding to become a Pyjama Drama franchisee? Because I don't have to turn children away from anymore – on a daily basis, I can use Pyjama Drama classes to help children build their confidence in these so important early years. We start by smiling and waving back to Ali in the ‘hello song’, and we work up to creeping past the sleeping monster in his den in the park. There are endless opportunities to test your courage in our classes, and when the children have had that regular experience of being brave and knowing that feeling of pride that comes when you're so pleased with your efforts, they'll do it again in real life! And that’s when we begin to see results….
Of course, to enable these experiences, I know I’m asking parents to be brave as well. I will know, but your children won't, how much courage it takes to return next week when you brought the child that didn't speak to anyone. In the room where everyone else's child was happily playing and laughing, you may have to sit with your child while they process this crazy new world to which you've brought them. And this doesn't look like joining in, not in the beginning. You will be practising the skill that you're expecting your child to practice, and it won't be easy. I never said it was easy. So let's hear it for bravery in children and their parents, who might not have been in their own comfort seen zone in months, but who understand that if they can crack this one thing, they can help put their child on the right ttrack - for life!
Ali Wilkinson, Franchisee for Lancaster
To join a class in Lancaster, or to enquire about Ali visiting your nursery or school, please email email@example.com.
Read this if you're thinking about starting a new business
In case you're considering whether or not buying a Pyjama Drama franchise is for you, we wanted to introduce ourselves. After all, if you choose to run a business with us, we'll be working very closely together!Read More
Happiness is being busy - doing something you love!
We're only halfway through January and what a month it's turning out to be!
At the beginning of the month, Directors Sarah and Rachel flew to Holland for a meeting with our American colleague Sarah Rijnen, to firm up our plans for taking Pyjama Drama into schools in California. We then met with our Malaysian colleagues for a catch-up and brainstorming session about Pyjama Drama in Kuala Lumpur.
Sarah then spent three days in Warwick training Play Makers...Read More
I say, I say, I say
This year we're proud to present (oh yes we are!) RobinHood - the panto, our first ever panto for the festive season. During this action-packed one hour show, the audience will set off on an adventure to rescue the beautiful Maid Marion from a clumsy (and rather snotty) Sheriff of Nottingham. Look out though - we're not sure this particular maiden needs saving!Read More
Developing skills for life
At Pyjama Drama our emphasis is on role play and imagination, not performance. Although in many children we see the blossoming of a lifelong love of drama, we're not deliberately setting out to teach the children to be actors and performers. Drama, pretending and role play are some of the most instinctive things that children so has many, many benefits. At Pyjama Drama our emphasis is clear - developing skills for life!Read More
Meet two of our 'biggest fans'
4th August 2017
Rhi and her daughter, three year old Rosie, are self confessed ‘massive fans’ of Pyjama Drama.
For Rosie, the best thing about Pyjama Drama is her teacher ‘Jay-Jay’ (Jay Hilalen who runs the franchise in Pembrokeshire) who she adores, but for her mum it's the benefits of the programme for her daughter; benefits she has witnessed over the past year of attending classes.Read More
Child-led drama in three easy steps!
4th July 2017
The seemingly boundless energy of a toddler or young child can tire even the most active of adults as they spill out into the world and through early childhood; first of all crawling, then cruising, toddling, walking then running, tumbling and exploring. The first year of a child’s life is a time of rapid and astonishing development, but it’s somewhere towards the end of a child’s second year that something truly magical happens – the imagination starts to unfold!Read More
Annual seminar 2017
12th May 2017
Last weekend our franchisees packed their bags and made their way to Manchester for our Annual Seminar, flooding the city with a sea of red. Setting out from all corners of the UK and even California, they arrived raring to go, each determined to make the very most out of our two days together - to meet new franchisees, catch up with old friends and most importantly to learn how they could continue to grow their Pyjama Drama businesses. And boy did we learn a LOT!Read More
Moving on up down under
9th May 2017
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to meet Amanda (on the left), you’ll know she has an infectious energy and passion for life. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to work with her, you’ll also know how determined and tenacious she is, and how incredibly passionate about her business she is.Read More