LAC (Little Anxious Creatures) process drama resource

Here’s a wee drama written by the Dramatic Inquiry team at Knighton Normal school in Hamilton (Jacki Paia, David Hannah, Diane Cooper, Nicole Antoniadis, Whakarongo Tauranga) with support from Viv Aitken. This group of teachers has been working to support children in their transition back to face-to-face schooling, with experiences in dramatic play, process drama and Mantle of the Expert.

The drama is based on the picture book Lessons of a LAC by Lynne Jenkins. The story is all about two groups who live on opposite sides of a mountain: the Little Anxious Creatures and the Calmsters. These two groups have a long history of battles. But then one day Loppy the LAC learns some useful strategies from his new Calmster friend and they start to consider a new kind of relationship…

The team felt this story was a good way to begin a conversation with children as they process their feelings about the Covid-19 pandemic and the return to school. The use of drama and the imagined world of the story provides a safe, frame-distanced and enjoyable way to explore some important questions of wellbeing.

Teachers have been trialling the drama this week and it’s gone really well. Now they want to make their planning freely available for others to use. THANKS team for your generosity.

Please post a response below if you use this planning in your class – we’d love to hear how you get on!


  1. Whakarongo Tauranga on May 28, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    We have just completed this story drama and my tamariki loved it! All were able to make relevant comments about what they learned about people, could respond in thoughtful and respectful ways and identify more than 2 self calming strategies. My favourite learning statement after one of many great discussions was – “Ms T, more brains working together helps us think better!”

    The children decided in the end that, we all need a little Loppy LAC and a little Curly Calmster to help us in different situations. Being anxious all the time isn’t good for our mind or our body and being too relaxed isn’t good for us either. Finding balance is so important. We had so many profound moments and statements and I have shared some of them below.

    When LAC’s hurt the CC’s feelings, they could get smaller in the big world, like emotionally smaller.

    In a battle, does the entire team get bigger or just the one LAC and one CC who battled?

    Does your LAC or CC get bigger or smaller depending on the size of the village supporting you?

    “I would love to be Curly Calmster but actually most of the time I am Loppy LAC” Child A

    “On the inside you’re yourself but on the outside you’re someone else” Child R

    “Sometimes, you don’t want people to know that you’re Loppy (anxious) because you’re trying to be Curly (calm) – to be like calm in your mind” Child E

    “You have to be your own voice in your head to talk yourself into breathing and being Curly (calm) but it’s hard if you’re fully being Loppy” Child M

    They don’t have to battle just because they’re opposites.

    They’re (LAC’s and CC’s) not actually separate – inside our brain, the battle is the two sides, like our opinion, like the left and right side of our brain saying opposite things and you have to choose which side you’re going to believe.

    Sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway – Ms T told me that last year before my race.

    Sometimes other people being LAC’s around you makes you think you can’t do it or aren’t good enough.

    Yeah sometimes people say stuff to be cautious cause they’re trying to look after you but it just makes you more nervous.

    Sometimes Loppy and Curly work together.

    You need to be cautious sometimes but also be a little brave.

    We ended the story drama by designing and making our own versions of Curly Calmster, which I love because the children all saw Curly differently and incorporated elements of the things that make them feel calm into the creature they designed.

    Thanks so much Viv for helping members of our Knighton DI team, work through our ideas and bring this plan to life.

  2. Viv Aitken on May 28, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Whakarongo – I so enjoyed reading the thoughtful ways your tamariki responded during this drama experience. I thought it was great how you asked them to think about which aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic we need our inner ‘LAC’ for (staying alert, taking precautions, washing hands, following the rules of different levels) and which aspects we need to call on our ‘CC’ skills (knowing how to self-calming when anxious, remembering to focus on positive thoughts and messages for ourselves and others, and remembering that just because bad things CAN happen, this doesn’t mean they always WILL happen). Such a pleasure to work with you and the team on this. Hope others will find it useful too!

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