Document Type


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Early Childhood and Elementary Education


This article looks into the world of pretend to understand how the invitation to move, to take risks, and to become the story of Jack and the Beanstalk afforded three- to five-year-old children a means to be more than their usual selves. It describes a ten-week process drama residency studied in two preschool settings: first in three classrooms in a rural Head Start school and one year later in two classrooms in an urban Reggio-inspired child development center. The focus is on the compelling effect of engaging preschoolers’ bodies in movement and pretend, particularly for three children who presented what the author chooses to call “special circumstances” and whose experiences illustrate how embodied learning occurred so prominently in the Jack and the Beanstalk residency.


Copyright 2015 by the National Council of Teachers of English. All rights reserved.

Original Publication Information

Whitmore, Kathryn F. "Becoming the Story in the Joyful World of 'Jack and the Beanstalk'." 2015, Language Arts 93(1): 25-37.