From the vantage point of a doctoral student in education leadership and policy, as well as a teacher at a public Montessori, I'm learning and sharing as I go. This is my space to explore the child's interior life, our discoveries as educators, and work of learning together.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Real-life Storytelling in Preschool: Spoken language in the primary classroom
In storytelling, the
tone of voice and her language convey a sense of invitation. If it is a
personal story, it conveys, You are important
enough for me to share these things with you. Children want to feel
invited and welcomed to our human society and human culture, and we do this
through sharing our human experiences and human knowledge. Every human society
across time has this tradition of story telling. The elders in the community will
be telling stories about community, places, and experiences. This is how, as
human beings, we keep alive the memories of our ancestors, and pass on memories
of people who live in different times and different places. We use it to pass
on moral lessons and values. So, for the child who is trying to orient herself
to this world, it gives context to a world that is just larger than us. What is
a story for a young child, a 3 ,4, or 5 year old? It will be the stories of
everyday things, as a way of connecting to the environment.
The trick for story
telling is to do it quickly with a small group, then dissipate quickly. If you
see too many people coming up, they have an irresistible need for more spoken
language. There is no other material for spoken language. The presentations are
quick, light, and gone. If you do it with 3-4 children, it will be quick and
personal. There is no element of questioning afterward. It is not a test, for
this activity. It is more for enjoying and practicing with language. Make it
casual. You may offer the space for the children who are wandering around.
Perhaps, tell the
story of an interesting items that is in the room with the children, such as a
model bird. Make sure that when relaying facts about an object that it does not
just become a delivery of facts-- we do not want to be wikipedia. It still is
an element of experience and discussing their experiences. Put emphasis on the connecting words, like and then, so, after that, because, as a result.
about what you want to share. Try it out with a variety of expressions, then
think about how you will invite the children to participate in this. It is
important to give the child the emotional connection, the context for arousing
their interest. You might want to try the gossip tone, of special and secret knowledge. We
don't always have to go to the library for books, but we forget that our own
lives are very interesting to children. For the three year old, it can be as
simple as showing them something and asking them what they see. Even their
"mundane" connections will be significant to them.