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PREVIEW: Improv Games & Social Skills for Parents and Teachers by Tiamarie Harrison and Maja Watkins

Improv games and exercises provide opportunities to socialize in a safe place where you can take risks and make mistakes. Improv games with children allow parents and teachers to practice being in the moment while working on important social skills in a natural, fun, and creative way! Using improv games along with the improvisers mindset makes it so children can explore their unique points of view while still reaching social goals that strengthen peer relationships along with their relationships with adults. All children have social and emotional competencies they are learning to understand, these competencies include relationship skills, social awareness, self-awareness, stress management, and responsible decision-making. These competencies can all be found in Social and Emotional Learning.  Improv games allow children, and adults, to go with the flow when practicing these social skills. Improv games can be used as a tool for parents and teachers to practice social skills in a non-judgmental way. These games can be played in the car, in the classroom, at home, and anytime parents and teachers would like to incorporate social and emotional learning, which is proven to be an incredibly vital component to social and emotional development. Maja Watkins (Founder of Zip Zap Zop Enrichment) and TiaMarie  (College Professor and Parent Educator) both believe in the value of improv at home and the classroom.

 

While Maja Watkins was taking early education college courses, she was also taking improv classes at The Second City, Los Angeles and saw a strong connection between the two. Maja’s work with all children, including children with autism, focused on appropriate social behavior in school and at home. The improv games being taught at The Second City were the perfect experiences to apply with the children she was working with in order to generalize and understand the complex social skills being taught to her students and clients. This realization was the kickoff point for Zip Zap Zop Enrichment, an organization whose mission is to support learning social skills through improv while bridging the divide between children with and without special needs. Zip Zap Zop Enrichment runs as a non-profit organization in Los Angeles, Ca. and goes into schools, homes, and therapy centers implementing improv games to enhance communication, empathy, eye-contact, and other social tools.

Oh, rats!  It’s so frustrating when you get cut off just as you were getting really interested.

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