A sense of agency and storytelling.

    Storytelling is alive and well, and in good hands! 

I had the privilege of working at a  kindergarten today and noticing how a storytelling culture is an accepted part of their daily rlittle red riding hood alone in forestoutines. And how empowering it is for children when adults accompany the children into the domain of storytelling and play. When children tell their own story and when they use their imagination to create their own plot and narrative, this can be a wonderfully empowering thing. One has complete ownership and a sense of agency.

As Vivian Gussin Paley says: “The teacher asks questions about the intentions of the storyteller and the actors. Does the boy say something when he’s looking for the dog? How about when he finds the dog? It is an open-ended dialogue, and only the author and the actors know the answers. This makes it extremely interesting and creative for the children and teacher. In most other situations, the teacher knows the answers to the questions.”

I think Paley’s quote sums up a lot about the value of oral storytelling.     The child is not regurgitating to order, he/she is not being tested for recall accuracy; instead the child is firmly, playfully, indisputably in the driving seat. And I see it to be a wonderful and invaluable thing. And for many children in the 21st century who do not have ( as I did) the luxury of being free unsupervised agents (often outside ) for the best part of the day, this freedom in the realm of imaginative storytelling is a super important modern day urban equivalent.  I suspect. (more…)

Gabriel running

Dear Gabriel, today we took pictures together! You ran the whole circuit of the playground and I took a photo of you as you ran back towards me under the monkey bars. Around and around and around you went, and each time your smile was bigger and your movements more exuberant, and it was the highlight of my day.

You reminded me of how easy it is to forget that it was only a few months or so ago that you found being upright still a bit of a new adventure. Now you  are  mastering full speed running and your pleasure and your delight and your wholehearted participation were just such a gift for me.

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