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AUT Centre for Refugee Education Early Childhood Centre

Region: Auckland

Art form: Applied Theatre

Project name: School Drama

Creative name: Caitlin Kennedy

Project information: Teachers and students at AUT Centre for Refugee Education will focus on using drama conventions to improve learning outcomes, especially in literacy through developing oral language. Developing these skills in refugee students helps to disassemble barriers and build belonging. The children at the Centre have interrupted prior schooling and traumatic pasts. Anything that assists with catch-up – confidence and trust being key players – is essential for educational outcomes across the key competencies. Teaching-Artists plan and co-teach lessons, building teacher capacity to include creative approaches. Students are invited into the world of story, prompting deep critical thinking, nuanced perspectives, and real-world connections. Ten years of research into School Drama has shown it successfully increases students’ oral language, written vocabulary, inferential understanding and measures of well-being. The AUT Centre for Refugee Education is refugee children’s first introduction to New Zealand schools. Well-being for vulnerable newly settled migrants is hugely impacted by creative engagement and literacy skills in their ability to grow and adapt as new New Zealanders. The project uses an existing qualitative and quantitative benchmarking process that tracks development across language and well-being indicators.

Project status: In progress

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