Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Ann Cale Kruger, PhD - Chair

Second Advisor

Paula Eubanks, PhD

Third Advisor

Olga S. Jarrett, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Amy Lederberg, PhD


Drawing is valued as a non-verbal assessment tool to measure children's conceptual development and emotional state. Drawing has also been described as a problem-solving activity and unique symbol system. Although drama has been known to facilitate learning in other symbol systems, such as reading and writing, and to bring about advances in perspective taking and understanding of emotion, its impact on drawing has not been previously examined. In this study, Kindergarten and first grade children were instructed to draw a happy tree, sad tree, and angry tree before and after a 10-hour drama intervention. Half of the children participated in the intervention while the remaining children were members of a control group who participated in the regular school program. Consistent with expectations, children who participated in the drama program showed significantly greater improvement from pretest to posttest in drawing emotion compared to control children. Their drawings of emotion improved in clarity, that is, they depicted more clearly the emotion they were instructed to convey. Participants in the drama program also used significantly more highter level drawing strategies. The results suggest that the experience in emotional perspective taking provided by dramatic play may generalize to the domain of drawing and enhance expression.