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Storytelling from the Heart

Sarah Baldwin, Waldorf educator and owner of Bella Luna Toys, explains the importance of storytelling for children and gives parents ideas on how to make up their own stories, and tell stories “by heart” in this “Sunday with Sarah video.”

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hi, I’m Sarah Baldwin. I’m a Waldorf teacher, an author, the mother of two Waldorf graduates. I’m the owner of Bella Luna Toys, and I’m also a storyteller.

And guess what. So are you!

Today on “Sunday With Sarah” I’m going to talk to you about storytelling and why I think it’s so important to TELL children stories–from memory or from the heart, or stories that you make up–as opposed to just reading them from a book.

Now books are great. We sell a lot of picture books and chapter books at Bella Luna Toys. I don’t want to discourage you from ever reading to your child or encouraging your child to read, but when we can take the time to TELL a child a story–eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart–there is no greater gift. Children love it!

Now you may think “I’m not creative, I don’t have any ideas. How do I possibly make up a story?” Well, it’s not that hard, and the more you start exercising that storytelling muscle, the easier it becomes.

The easiest way to get started, I think, is to just start telling your child stories of when you were a little girl or you were a little boy. Children LOVE to hear stories about their parents when they were little, and remembering the adventures they had or the trouble they got into!

You can also tell a story reviewing the child’s day. Now, reviewing the day before sleep, in bed, is a wonderful, relaxing way for children to let go of the day and drift off to sleep.

And you can disguise the child. You can change his or her name, or it could be a story about “Squirrel Nutkin” or another little animal, but then use the events that child’s day to help them review the day and soon they’ll begin to recognize themselves in the story. “Oh, that’s what I did today!” and they’ll get really excited to hear a story about themselves.

For instance: “Squirrel Nutkin woke up early one morning and his mother had made him a bowl of oatmeal. And after they ate their oatmeal, they washed the dishes together and took a walk to the park…” and so on, reviewing what the child had to eat that day, who they saw, what activities they did.

So, if you need more ideas, one of my favorite books, and we offer it at Bella Luna Toys, is called Storytelling with Children, written by Nancy Mellon. Nancy is a master storyteller who has taught teachers and given workshops, and it’s full of great ideas.

And stories don’t have to just be told. They can also be told as a puppet play with little figures. Nancy gives lots of ideas in this wonderful book.

So I really encourage you to start, if you don’t already, making up stories. You can also memorize a story, like a fairy tale, and try telling it by heart. I like saying “telling it by heart” rather that “memorizing.” It just is warmer.

A fairy tale you know well, like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” or “Little Red Riding Hood.” You know what happens in the story! Tell it in your own words and when your child makes that eye contact with you and has that heart-to-heart connection, they will just warm right up, and you’ll enjoy it, too.

So, leave a comment! Let me know if storytelling something you do regularly. If not, and you decide to give it a try, let me know how it goes. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy storytelling! See you next time.

sarah-signature-blue-125x64

 

 

 

Book referenced in video: Storytelling with Children by Nancy Mellon

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Waldorf Storytelling Circle Time
Homeschooling, Storytelling, Waldorf Education

Storytelling: The Heart of Waldorf Education

From a Parent-Toddler class through the grades, children in a Waldorf school are immersed in stories.

Starting with simple nature stories in the early childhood, children will hear many stories through the years: fairy tales, folk tales, fables, myths, legends, biographies, and stories from history, spoken aloud by the teacher and transmitted heart-to-heart.

In addition, academic subjects throughout the grades−from math to science to history to art to handwork—are all introduced through storytelling.

For example, in a past video blog post on Waldorf watercolor painting, I demonstrated how a kindergarten teacher might introduce painting with a story about “Tippy Brush,” who dips his toes into the water for a foot bath before inviting the other colors to come and play with him.

A first-grade teacher who is introducing the four processes of basic arithmetic may tell an imaginative story about Princess Plus, Duke Division, or Emperor Equal.

Teaching math through storytelling. Used with permission of the Bright Water School.

Teaching math through storytelling. Used with permission of the Bright Water School.

Introducing subjects through stories engages children’s imaginations and strengthens their inner picturing capabilities–their ability to create a picture in their “mind’s eye,” an essential skill for creative thinking later in life. Continue Reading

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Childhood, Links, Natural Toys, Play, Storytelling, Toddlers, TV and Media

Weekend Reading

I have been hard at work this week on creating the new and improved site for Bella Luna Toys. Unfortunately, it’s left me with little time for writing. So while I plug away at the new site (and, oh, I can’t wait for you to see it!) here are a few links to posts from the blogosphere this week that I found of interest, and hope you will, too!

Toddler Storytelling from Code Name: Mama

The Other Toy Story from BeliefNet.com

TV on SCHOOL BUSES? Why Not Just Set Up A Deep-Fryer & Throw Kids’ Brains In? from Free-Range Kids

Let Your Kids Get Dirty from SimpleMom.net

child playing in dirt image

Photo Courtesy of SimpleMom.net

Have a great weekend!

xox
Sarah

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