Studies have shown amazing benefits to arts education in schools. Students who participate in classes and extracurricular activities like drama tend to earn higher grades and get into less trouble than students who don't. Still, when school funding takes a hit, the arts are often the first things to go.
But teachers (and parents) don't necessarily have to give up teaching kids about theater: Planning a children's play can be a pretty simple and low-cost endeavor if you know what you're doing.
Here, some guidelines to help even non-drama-types put together an elementary- or high-school production that gets rave reviews from both participants and audience members. It doesn't have to be a grueling process; scripts, rehearsals, even costumes and sets can be pulled together pretty easily with some resourcefulness, creativity and a kid-friendly approach.
It begins with incorporating some not-so-dramatic skills into the production.