The word "chivalrous" relates to acts of gracious courtesy, generosity or kindness. While often considered to be the way men should behave toward women, girls can also exhibit chivalrous behavior. Skits in which the characters act out consideration of others, are an effective way to teach kids about chivalrous behavior. Parents and teachers can use ready-made skits or create their own using stories about kindness, consideration and excellent manners.
Books such as "Renaissance Age of Chivalry Skits," by Kathleen Applebee, can provide a parent with age-appropriate scripts for children. Aaron Shep's website has several skits for school-age students, including "Count Alaric's Lady," which is a version of the old Tam Lin story about a loved one who was stolen or belongs to the fairies, and a charming version of "Savitri A Tale of Ancient India," which introduces the idea that girls are capable of acts of chivalrous courage.
Create Your Own Skits
More general skit books such as "The Skit Book: 101 Skits From Kids," by Margaret Read McDonald, can provide ideas and an example of good format for writing your own skits about chivalry. If the plan is for students to write the scripts, show them how to write dialogue, and how to add stage directions to a script. Tell them that to write dialogue for a play, you start out with the speaker's name, and put a colon after it, then write what they should say. Show them how to put parentheses around stage directions so they don't get mixed up with the speaking parts.
King Arthur and Other Classical Examples
Books about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are a source for plays about chivalry and chivalrous behavior. You can share simplified versions of the King Arthur tales, such as "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table," by Roger Lancelyn Green. Don Quixote is another example of a chivalrous hero. Although his antics are foolish, he honors Aldonza as his Dulcinea, and is prepared to defend her. Some chivalrous legends, such as the story that Sir Walter Raleigh spread his cloak over a mud puddle for Queen Elizabeth, never happened. However, they are still good material for creating skits. Comedies of manners, such as the "Importance of Being Ernest" are also good source material.
Modern chivalry is just plain good manners and can be practiced by boys and girls. Traditionally, men pull out chairs for women to help them sit down at a table. In times when women wore long gowns and the chairs were big and heavy, this made sense. Opening doors and holding them open for others was also once reserved for guys, but girls can practice this courtesy by holding open doors for people who are older, are in a wheelchair or on crutches, or are carrying a large load. Songs about good manners can help get students into the mood of being courteous. Books such as the American Girl's series also teach children how to use good table manners, which is a part of chivalrous behavior.
Making Your Own Skits
Keep your self-written skits simple. Select one story or one idea as the subject for the skit. For example, you might address the problem that arose as women became more independent of how both men and women can exhibit chivalrous politeness. Or you could create your own formal tea party or dinner scene to help kids practice chivalrous table manners. Read aloud several stories about chivalry, and encourage your children to come up with their own tales of courtesy and bravery.