"Yes and": The uses of improvisation for early childhood professional development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


In their teacher preparation and professional development training, early childhood teachers learn about the importance of play for children's development; yet they are rarely taught how to play with children. Once in the classroom, many teachers do not interact responsively to children's play; instead they ignore, interpret, or dominate the activity. Building on the theory that play is a collective activity similar in form to improvised performances, and that teachers can develop their ability to play collectively, this article presents findings from a pilot project that explored the use of improvisational ("improv") theatre workshops as a professional development tool for preparing teachers to be better players. The analysis of the data suggests that the skills associated with responsive teaching can be taught through participation in improv workshops and that learning to improvise can give teachers new ways to understand their role in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-319
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Teacher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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