Storytelling in Paradise: Teaching Dramatic Play in the Dominican Republic

Playing and pretending...why I love the work I do.

Playing and pretending...why I love the work I do.

My family and I live on our sailboat, but for the past 6 months, we've spent an extended hurricane season living in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, where we have fallen head over heels in love with the inspiring people and the beautiful spirit of this incredible place.  In the last few months of traveling, in the midst of all our adventures, I realized how much I missed teaching drama.  It had been over a year since I taught my last classes in Telluride, and I was longing for the excitement and fulfillment of working with children, and the joy and poignancy and sheer silliness of dramatic play.    Luckily for me, I found a perfect place to volunteer my services: Charlie's Foundation, an amazing educational non-profit organization for local kids.  My students are aged 3-6, and they are loving, precocious, imaginative little fireballs.  Every class I've taught has been a shoot-from the hip adventure with a super steep learning curve as I've tried to convey ideas in my terribly broken Spanish and navigate the cultural differences.  I've had some epic teaching fails (sitting in a circle isn't a thing here- if you know me, you know circle-based teaching is my go-to!) but I've also reveled in some perfect moments in a few classes where everything clicked.  Special thanks to the wonderful staff at Charlie's who have welcomed me and taught me so much.     The photos here tell the story best-- I am so in love with my Dominican students and so appreciative of this incredible opportunity. Enjoy!        

Playing the uke and singing the "Hello" song- how we begin each class.

Playing the uke and singing the "Hello" song- how we begin each class.

I use a lot of nursery rhymes in my teaching with this age group.  On this day, we explored "Hickory Dickory Dock" as mice running up and down the clock.  Lots of opportunities to practice English through repetition, as well as finding pleasure in the fun rhymes combined with movement. 

I use a lot of nursery rhymes in my teaching with this age group.  On this day, we explored "Hickory Dickory Dock" as mice running up and down the clock.  Lots of opportunities to practice English through repetition, as well as finding pleasure in the fun rhymes combined with movement. 

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet...  We had so much fun bringing this story to life!  Also pictured is my daughter Vivian.  Both of my kids have loved helping me at Charlie's Foundation.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet...  We had so much fun bringing this story to life!  Also pictured is my daughter Vivian.  Both of my kids have loved helping me at Charlie's Foundation.

Ahoy mateys!  We journeyed by boat and checked out our surroundings via spyglasses.  (It got pretty dicey when we had to escape the school of sharks.)

Ahoy mateys!  We journeyed by boat and checked out our surroundings via spyglasses.  (It got pretty dicey when we had to escape the school of sharks.)

It doesn't get much better than this smile.   

It doesn't get much better than this smile.