Thursday, July 28, 2011

Waldorf Storytelling

A truly helpful book.

Storytelling is an art that most of us weren't taught growing up. At least I wasn't. Stories were found in books, not people. 
Except for one relative who would visit every now and then and give all the children at my grandmother's a delightful memory in the form of a made up story just for them. 

I remember sitting spellbound on the porch as Uncle would craft his stories using us as the characters. How amazing it seemed that the wind in the story blew JUST LIKE the wind through the tree behind us! I couldn't fathom the coincidence. :o) 

Those few stories that I remember fondly were never something that seemed possible for me to do. I thought you had to have a Great Talent and I knew I didn't have that so I spent my time finding the best storybooks I could for my children. There are some lovely stories out there just waiting to be found and read. 
And I read those lovely stories to my children often. We delight in the artwork, and have built some of our favorite traditions around them. 
But there is a passion and depth in a story that comes from the soul of the teacher that can't be matched by something in a book. 
Think about the last time you listened to a speaker who knew their subject and was passionate about sharing it. It was probably a lot more interesting than the speaker who was reading from their notes the whole time.
Storytelling works that way too. 

I became determined to master this for my children. I tried to find a "how-to" but most of them just spoke of jumping in there and telling a story as the only way to learn. I don't know why it was such a scary thing to do. Children are the most forgiving medium there is. Sing to a child. They don't care if you're off key. They will love you for sharing your voice with them!
I borrowed the book above from my library via intralibrary loan and I knew instantly that it was one I needed to purchase as soon as I could. It arrived yesterday and I'm excited to have a book of my own that I can bookmark and highlight. I'm dedicated to using Steiner's three day rhythm with the things I'm studying now. I've discovered that there is a difference in how quickly I absorb the information using that method.

I didn't need the book to start storytelling though, and neither do you.:o)
It was winter when I began and we were focused on warmth and home. So that was my theme for the story. I brought into it everything that I wanted my children to have and experience on a blustery day.
I did nothing more than describe the house that a little girl was walking towards and what she found when she came through the door. I told about her process of preparing for bed and we ended it with her closing her eyes in sleep.

The children begged for the story again and again. Everything just went from there. I started creating more stories based on what we were going through. Then I discovered that I could address behaviors that I had noticed during our day. 
The children never noticed that I was pulling from THEIR behavior, but they always saw what shouldn't have happened in the story. 

Susan Perrow addresses this in her book. I don't know enough about it all yet to know WHY it works. I just know it did. 
So jump out on that limb and start story telling. You can retell a story you know, or make one up about the little boy whose cracker fell on the floor. 

Your children will LOVE it!


Bending Birches said...

magical....and what a fantastic and true post, friend. Storytelling is important and every child deserves to have it in their life. we, as the storytellers, need to relax and let the creativity flow...not think too much, not worry if they're enjoying it, if they're bored, if they need "more", etc.
love to you and yours:)

Bending Birches said...

and what you described is a pedagogical story to a "T"! They are so effective, yes? :):):):)

umbrellalady said...

I was one of the older cousins so I did a lot supervising of the younger ones when our families got together. I would make up stories for the kids and get them to help me with the storyline. We are now all adults and it always surprises me when they remind me of when I would make up stories for them and how much they enjoyed it.

Moonbeams and Applesauce said...

What a great post. We are parents can feel so bombarded with ways of "doing things right", that we don't do out of fear of "doing it wrong". But as you so aptly pointed out, what we forget is that "doing things right" means going on instinct, using what we know works, and using all of those special one of a kind gifts that life as a family brings to each of us. Thank you so much for posting this.