Dear early educators, let me tell you a secret to getting a completely quiet classroom – STORYTIME! In my experience, the quietest and most engaged time that I have had with preschoolers is during the story telling sessions. It’s common knowledge that early learners need constant engagement and as an early childhood educator what better way to keep the inquisitive minds engaged than to tell them stories!
The imagination of a child is fuelled with the story telling process. Storytelling has an important role in growing the child’s creativity, communication, vocabulary and articulation. It is an ancient art and has a rich history in the area of education.
In the modern context, storytime creates a connection
Storytelling is an art that creates a connection. The bond of communicating one to one creates a meaningful order in chaotic classrooms filled with playful preschoolers. I have found that storytime is the most favorite time for most of my student’s. Also, any teacher who is telling stories becomes an instant hit. If they can form this connection with their students, all the concepts they try to teach the child in the future become easy to follow. The lesson gets etched in the child’s mind and the process forms the foundation for further learning.
Stories are not mere narrations
Stories are the harbinger of information, truth and knowledge to the child. Our young learners can be taught values and morals through stories in an easy way and effective manner. Open ended stories can help the child explore problem-solving skills and life skills. These skills are the most important tools to make your child ready for the real world.
Storytelling can also be used to teach mathematical and scientific manipulative to your child. Create a story that takes away something, for instance, the teacher can use a story that takes away a “taken for granted” aspect of a child’s life. It could be anything from electricity to color to gravity or even the mobile phones. The child’s imagination will help him or her learn more about the principles of the object in a highly effectual approach.
The preschoolers are captivated by vivid language, large gestures, voice modulations, visuals and lots of smart innovations. A secret to storytime success is – Dumb down the vocabulary and keep it simple and easy. The use of a particular word repeatedly can aid retention. For example, if the story is about a scientific concept of gravity, it is a good idea to use the word gravity multiple times to create a lasting impact.
What should storytime highlight?
The stories, even at preschool levels should have a strong takeaway message. The point is to emphasize is the objective of the story. When told well with lots of movement and dramatic pauses the moral of the story becomes more prominent. The story should be positioned as the answer to the problem which the child might have faced or is likely to face.
The characters should be relatable and real. It is not necessary that the characters should be human only; look at the works of Walt Disney, they use animals and birds in their stories and we are all aware of the magnitude of impact their stories have had on the receptive minds of little preschoolers. Children love it when the good guy wins, and the story should be positioned in a manner that the protagonist is loved by the young learners.
To sum up:
It is imperative that storytime is interactive and the stories being told are able to encourage children to think along with the teacher. Interactive sessions automatically engage the child and will naturally lead the thought process to desired areas. The boredom factor is also neutralized. Preschool accreditation agencies like QualityKG are already making efforts to incorporate storytime as a teaching pedagogy in the Pre-K classrooms. As an early educator who is trying to implement a preschool development program that encourages creativity and imaginativeness, go forward and weave a story that your students love and that also facilitates the learning process!
In the words of Albert Einstein― “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”