It’s story time, it’s story time,
stop, shhh, listen!
Back in the Autumn term we embarked on our latest Westgate Project: Story Telling! We had noticed that some of our children did not find traditional story time particularly engaging, so we looked for alternatives.
This year we will be trialing Story Telling sessions across all age ranges in the nursery. Our Story Telling sessions are based on the work of Mary Medlicot, who advises that children need to be involved with the telling of stories. Rather than simply sharing a picture book with the children (although we recognise that this is beneficial for literacy development too!), a story telling session involves one practitioner telling a traditional tale to a smaller group of children, using props instead of pictures.
Hands on laps and lips tight shut!
There is a wealth of research that indicates that the more stories a child knows and can tell, the better their future outcomes are. Traditional tales help children to explore their culture, and those of others. They support children to develop problem solving skills (as they may find solutions based on these stories); empathy (as they imagine themselves in the character’s situation); and of course, listening, understanding, communication and literacy. Following the Story Telling session we always offer a quick activity to support early literacy – whether this is climbing pretend (and sometimes real) trees and beanstalks (to support gross motor movements and story recall); laying and following pebble trail (supporting fine motor skills, balance and coordination); or simply being bears (gross motor and imaginative skills)!
So far we have noticed that the children’s engagement, concentration and attention during Story Telling sessions have increased hugely. As soon as we begin our Story Time chants (see italics), the children’s attention is rapt as they wait to be transported to another world.
Now that we have a wealth of experiences; we’re excited to learn more in the rest of the year! We hope that by the end of the academic year, our children will be able to retell stories independently, or even make up their own versions of stories based on the traditional tales we share.
The forest is deep, the forest is wide,
I wonder who we’ll find inside?