What a day. Did a wonderful performance with some older prepreps at Chelmer-Graceville Community Kindergarten. The Director and the children were keen for me to do a story about space. One boy was Astronauting around the centre with a cardboard role 'laser gun' in one hand, a cardboard tube 'walkietalkie' in the other, and a cereal box 'Astronaut Backpack' stickytaped to his back.
This afternoon I was busy trying to sort out insurance bills, why do they all come at once, when I noticed an email from a student inviting me to take part in an 'interview via email' for her research project all about children and storytelling.
This was not the first time I have been asked to do so and I immediately recognised that really what I was being asked to do was to take part in a way that was convenient for the student but a 'bit of a type-a-thon' for me.
Well I suggested we meet and she could shout me a coffee and interview and tape my answers. Well and good but the reply I got back indicated my requester was in Ireland and I was in Australia and a cup of coffee would be a long way off so I though how can I get some good value out of this as well?
Here's my solution. I'll post Jill's questions here. Post my answers and invite comments.
Here's Jill's original email and questions for a start.
On 10/03/2008, at 3:33 AM, Jill Moore wrote:
• I am at present in my final year of study and carrying out my research project, I was wondering if you would be willing to answer some questions.
• I have outlined them below.
• I really love your work and would love to learn more.
OUTLINE OF INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR PARTICIPANTS
1 What value do you think stories in general have for young children?
2 What specific storytelling strategy do you use and why?
3 How do you think the strategy works?
4 How do the specific children you work with react to this creative method of storytelling?
5 How does the strategy you use facilitate children undergoing new experiences?
6 Is there any other ways that new experiences can be mediated?
7 How does the strategy you use encourage children to talk about their feelings?
8 Would it be easy to use this strategy in any early year’s service?
9 What type of children/ age group would benefit from this strategy you use most?
10 Did you ever use any other storytelling methods?
11 What skills and qualities do you feel a storyteller or a person using this strategy needs to have?
12 Do you enjoy telling stories?
I would Really appreciate it if you got back to me on this.
What value do you think stories in general have for young children?
Well, in general, it depends on the age of the children but, in one way, stories have the same value for children as they do for adults. Stories encode cultural, family and personal information in a form that is memorable, fun, creative, multilayered, entertaining, impactful and highly accessible. All that is as true for adults as it is for children. Stories help us to belong. 'I am one of the people that know's and enjoys the story called ...'
Another important thing about stories is that even though they encode information but they don't 'shorthand it ' or 'text it'. A story is a whole story whether it is short or long because it makes use of the narrative structure - the way of recognising and telling a story all around the world. We know when a story has ended or not.
Probably one of the things about stories and children is that generally speaking they haven't forgotten how to have fun and they expect their stories to be fun. That's not to say they can't appreciate a story that is serious - they can. They would just prefer their stories to be fun and playful.
(More answers in subsequent posts.)