This Portsmouth mum is teaching toddlers valuable life skills through drama

A MUM has set up a business to teach young children valuable life lessons through drama.

Monday, 5th August 2019, 11:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 10:48 am
Debutots leader Jo Bennington, left, with Ellen Macdonald and Annie, two, and Amy Williams, right, with Milo, two, pictured at Somerstown Community Hub, Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (020819-15)

Joanna Bennington, from Southsea, launched her Debutots classes to use story, drama and play to help children develop new skills.

Jo was always involved with the theatrical world and ran the youth theatre at the Kings Theatre.

After having her first baby, Alex, Joanna decided to put her family first and launch a career that would mean she could spend more time with her family, so launched the business to fit in with these commitments.

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Ellen Macdonald and Annie, two, left, and Amy Williams with Milo, two, right, at Debutots Picture: Chris Moorhouse (020819-17)

The classes are split into three age groups and invite children as old as five to join in with telling stories through drama.

Jo uses stories that are different from the standard fairy tales that kids are used to and each story has a moral behind it to instil self-esteem and confidence in them as well as teaching them life lessons and skills.

She encourages the children to work in small groups to tell the stories to encourage teamwork skills from a young age.

She said: ‘Debutots is a unique blend of storytelling and dramatic play that creates a fun environment for children to build their confidence while enhancing their language, listening and speaking skills.

‘I started earlier this year and already the feedback I have had has been wonderful. Children are really enjoying the classes I have to offer and I am loving telling all the stories and getting involved in the drama. I practice my classes at home with my young son and he loves being a part of it!’

Jo welcomed around 100 children from the city to June’s classes – a number which is increasing every month.

Most of the classes are held at the Somers Town Community Hub but Jo takes her classes across the city to nurseries and primary schools.

She is is now planning some new classes for parents and toddlers to attend together.

All children are welcome at the classes and can find out more or register at