Monday 12th March marks the official start of Shakespeare Week – Hooray! A whole week dedicated to celebrating this wonderful and much-loved playwright. But with language deemed too flowery and complex for children, how are we to teach the youth of today about what this talented Englishman of old has written? Yes, your average 7-year-old may not understand ‘Deny thy father and refuse they name, or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet’ but if they watch the animated film ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’, then they’ll certainly understand the plot of this famous love story.
As adults, we can sometimes underestimate what children are capable of understanding. We forget that their minds are like sponges, ready to absorb as much information as possible. They may not understand the language of Shakespeare, but they can certainly understand the themes, plot twists and characters. They may not know what ‘Wherefore art thou’ means, but they know the feelings of jealousy, anger, love, loyalty, greed, temptation, and friendship that are felt by Shakespeare’s characters. They can recognise and empathise with the highs and lows faced by the individuals penned by the Bard.
Fortunately, there are now many ways to introduce children to the works of Shakespeare with simplified versions written in comprehensible text. The words themselves may not be the same, but the underlying stories are, and that is something all children can understand and appreciate. The school run website has laid out 11 of the best ways to introduce children to Shakespeare so click the link below to read more.