Storytelling for toddlers in families, playgroups and similar less structured settings.
The challenge however is that there is a tendency for these situations to be a lot less structured. Structure in places such as schools and kindergartens is created and maintained to cut down distractions and distracting behaviour so that a larger group can enjoy and/or learn together. This same sort of structure can help make storytelling more enjoyable and creative as well.
In a family situation this isnt too difficult. You can start story time at the same time and place, eg, bedtime when everyone is in bed, or after morning tea when the cleaning up is done and everyone is sitting in the lounge room. You might also have structure in the form of content, for example - one read story, one told story, and one improvised story. Likewise its really worth cutting down on distractions by including in your structure rules such as no eating during telling, all toys put away in toy box etc.
If you mentally reverse everything in the above situation you start to get a situation where children and adults can enjoy storytelling together.
I know that carers need time to talk with each other over a cup of tea during play groups and that this is an important function of playgroups but everyone will gain if this is done at a specific time and not during storytime.
Once upon a time three children sat on the grass. One was called Peter. Hello Peter. One was called Anne. Hello Anne. One was called Jim. Hi Jim. Peter laughed ha, ha, ha. Anne laughed ha, ha, ha and Jim laughed ha, ha, ha.
On paper its not much of a story but told to three kids sitting on the grass with fun, rhythm, and touch would be fine. If the kids are enjoying it it can be added to in lots of ways eg ,
Peter clapped, clap, clap, clap, Anne clapped, clap, clap, clap, and Jim clapped, clap, clap, clap.
Stories can be created around the toys the children are playing with. Once upon a time Peter had a ball. It bounced & bounced & bounced into a ....
Nursery rhymes are great models to improvise around partly because they work really well for this age group and partly because we can remember them easily.
© 1998 Daryll Bellingham. One copy of the above notes are available for your personal use for developing your storytelling skills. If you would like to copy, distribute or publish them whole or in part please seek my permission.
|Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller
P.O. Box 5300, West End, Q4101,
Tel. 61 (0)7 3846 3135
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Last update: 26th August, 2003.
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