Our Spring Term project is “Story Time at the Childrens House”
Our children have been so enthusiastic about using our nursery Story House, listening to and role-playing well-loved stories, and also creating their own stories that we’re recording on ‘story cards’ in the nursery, that we’ve decided to base this term’s project around storytelling.
Storytelling is the oldest form of teaching. It bonded the earliest human communities, giving children the answers to the biggest questions of creation and life. Stories define us, shape us, control us, and make us. Not every human culture in the world is literate, but every single culture tells stories.
Stories create magic and a sense of wonder at the world. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves and about others. Storytelling is a unique way for children to develop an understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures, and can promote a positive attitude to people from different lands and religions.
- Reading and storytelling with our children promote brain development and imagination, teaches them about language and emotions, and strengthens our relationships with them.
- We don’t always need to read books. Picture books, singing rhymes and songs, or telling stories from other cultures are also great ways to incorporate storytelling into the nursery.
- Young children particularly enjoy books, songs and stories with good rhyme, rhythm and repetition.
- Anytime is a good time for a book or story! We try to share at least one book or story each day with the children.
How stories shape our world….
The stories we hear as children shape our view of the world. Most small children live their lives in quite a limited environment. Reading stories to children can show them far-flung places, extraordinary people and eye-opening situations to expand and enrich their world. This can also help to develop an appreciation of the rest of the world and different cultures.
It can be a great way of helping them deal with real life situations that they need help to deal with. Researchers have found that the brain activity that occurs when we read fiction is very similar to experiencing that situation in real life, so reading or listening to a story about a situation helps children to work out how to solve it in reality.
Making children into nicer people?
It gets even more surprising when you look at the effects of storytelling to children on their social behaviour.
Scientists have found that children who have fiction read to them regularly find it easier to understand other people – they show more empathy and have better developed theory of mind (the ability to understand that other people have different thoughts and feelings to us, which is essential for social interaction and understanding and predicting other people’s thoughts and behaviour).
Why we need to ask questions……
The benefits children get from having stories read to them are hugely increased when we talk and ask questions about the story as well.
Simply asking them if they can remember what happened in the story or checking if they know what some of the more complicated words mean can really extend their understanding and vocabulary.
More complex ‘inference’ questions like, ‘why do you think this character did that?’ helps children to think about and understand other people’s motivations and develops a sense of empathy as children are encouraged to put themselves in the position of the story’s protagonist; to consider their actions and reactions and why they may have made them.
Curiosity, imagination and communication……
Sharing stories with children can increase their willingness to express themselves and communicate their thoughts and feelings.
It’s also the perfect way to broaden their vocabulary, as a child will pick up new words as they hear them. If they don’t understand a word, they will more than likely ask for an explanation, so we always encourage this kind of questioning.
Storytelling also encourages children to be creative and use their imagination to picture the setting, the characters, and the story as it unfolds. Rather than being given the imagery to accompany the words, which is the case when watching a film, the child is able to build the world within which the story is set for themselves.
Focus and social skills…..
Through storytelling children are encouraged to listen to others, whether it be the storyteller or others listening to the story. They learn to be more patient and to let others speak; they begin to understand that others may not interpret things in the same way they do.
Their focus and listening skills are developed as they concentrate on what the storyteller is saying as, if they do not listen, the will miss out on part of the plot.
We use many different methods to encourage our young children to engage with stories. This can involve the use of story bags, story characters and puppets, indoor and outdoor role-play and also songs and rhymes.
This term we will be inviting our local librarian to come into nursery for another fabulous story session. Our children have greatly enjoyed this visit in the past and she will talk to them about visiting the library and developing an early love of books.
We would be extremely pleased to welcome any parents or family members into nursery to read to our children. They would really enjoy listening to any of your well-loved stories from home. Please speak to a teacher if this is something you’d like to do.
We’d like to encourage you to enjoy sharing stories with your child at home. Sparking a passion for reading from a young age is so important for a child’s development, and it’s fun! It forms a sound basis for the foundations of learning to read and has benefits for grown-ups too. The special time you spend reading together promotes bonding and helps to build your relationship.
We’re really excited about our project this term and are looking forward to taking our children on incredible imaginative journeys through storytelling, and most of all, listening to their own fantastic creations!