Create a storytelling space with props, songs and ritual...
Is there a place in your home that feels like the perfect spot to set up a storytelling area? It can be a permanent space but it actually doesn't need to be permanent. Sometimes creating a space where the storytelling happens and then putting it back to normal again - simply - is a perfect way to make story time even more special. When I have my little playgroup over on Mondays I move some furniture aside and set out a pretty little rug. I have a special shawl that I put on and a candle that I light - after calling the fire fairies and while I am singing the storytelling song (listen to the song at the end of this blog post). Then the mood has been set and I go right in to telling my story. "Where was it, where was it not. When was it, when was it not?" I say slowly and softly to create the mood and to gather the children in even further. By now there is a sense of expectation in the air and a stillness of sorts around us. The magic is beginning.
Waldorf teachers will tell a story that they have not only memorized, but remembered in a way that the story is essentially living within them and because of that the experience for the storyteller and the audience is much deeper. When the story is told it is told the same way with the same inflection and words each time. Children LOVE to hear the same story over and over. These days children think that they don't for a bit, but they really actually do love it. Sometimes we cannot imagine that this is true. There are many things like this that we find when we begin to delve into Waldorf education and working with children in a more simplified manner. We think things are one way and then we start to see that it is really the opposite. The less we give them, the less they need and the more fulfilled and content they, and we, are.
We can talk more about this another time ;). Back to storytelling!
As a teacher I found that it was essential for me to be able to memorize stories in that special way but to also be able to tell them spur of the moment. This is what Twelve Little Tales comes out of - the magic of making up stories and what happens when we do.
And this is why I the story starters work so well, because it takes a bit to learn how to make up a story out of nowhere. This way, there is something to read and when it ends you can take over. It is easy because anything you create will be wonderful. Just allow yourself to see in your mind's eye what might happen next and begin to weave the Tale and if you find that you can't think of anything the children definitely can. They always have an idea and then you will find that you can then take over. As I will continue to repeat - find simple and ordinary things to talk about. Breakfast, out for a walk (what do you see when you are out for your walks? - I bet these folks in any of these tales might see just the same thing), bedtime, dreams, weather, sounds, smells...
Please let me know if you have any questions. I would love to have a conversation.
Twelve Little Tales is a project to spread the art of storytelling far and wide.