Performing with young language learners

Kids English Theatre

Performing with young language learners

Just before Christmas  my 5-6 year old language learners presented their own “mini Christmas show” to families and friends. 10-minutes of sparkling Christmas songs and chants that ended with all the children showering paper snowflakes on our young protagonist, dressed up as a Christmas tree!

I always get so excited seeing children performing and putting into practice their language skills with such merriment and enthusiasm.

But, probably what I will treasure most is while I was awarding the children with their special stickers at the end of the show I noticed one particular student overwhelmed with emotion from the whole experience.

I sometimes underestimate the power that theatre and performance can have on young minds and hearts and yesterday I was happily reminded that theatre really can start a love for language learning … hopefully forever!

I recently posted some tips on organising a Christmas Show with young language learners on my Facebook page and I thought I would post them here too. The tips can apply to any mini presentation (not only Christmas) you may be planning with your kids this year.


Bring festive spirit to what you already have.
If you’re in the middle of preparing a role-play for example of “The Three Little Pigs”, don’t suddenly abandon what you’re doing in favour of “The Grinch” two weeks before Christmas, you’ll never get the children prepared in time and it’s likely to flop.

Why not work with what you already have? The Three little Pigs can still be given a festive feel simply by dressing the characters in Christmas colours (red, white, black) and Santa hats and having them sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas as a finale altogether with the Mr Wolf!

In the past I’ve even had my kids perform a Christmas Fashion Show and it worked a treat
Sending you more pre- Christmas cheer and theatrics tomorrow

You’re running out of time but still want to make your little ones shine
Try narrating a Christmas story and simply have your children dramatize it.
Prepare a couple of short poems or chants for your kids to recite (as a chorus) and you’ll have a mini Christmas performance set up in no time.
It can help to adapt and simplify traditional nursery rhymes or chants to fit your children’s language abilities. They can be even as simple as:

Santa Santa comes every year
Santa Santa brings Christmas cheer
Santa Santa has a reindeer
Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa Santa’s nearly here! 
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


[Be a role model]
Children can often feel a little overwhelmed when acting in front of an audience (in English!!!), so never abandon them on stage to face the music alone. Remember to always stand front stage facing your children smiling and guiding them animatedly through their songs and chants – your presence and encouragement will help them forget they’re under the spotlight and give them extra confidence. You’ll instantly notice they enjoy the whole experience much more.

[Can’t be heard?]
If children whisper their lines encourage them to project their voices by simply cupping your ears with your hands and miming the lyrics or script lines exaggeratedly – you’ll find children will naturally imitate you and speak up.

[Lastly] Keep in mind that no-one expects your show to last 2 hours!
10 mins is just fine for children to celebrate and demonstrate a dash of Christmas spirit and fun.

Be theatrical!


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