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But it’s just fun?

An article about storytelling by Glenn Denny (AKA The Male Practitioner)

I don't need to tell you that I think StoryTelling is important, essential even. That is what is at the heart of everything StoryProps is. I have experienced, first hand, the benefits of StoryTelling; the excitement on children's faces , amazing concentration from tiny tots, retelling of stories by children just learning to speak.

I could go on, but I won’t. Glenn Denny, The Male Practitioner has written this blog post in much more eloquent language than I could do, so I will hand over to him…

But it’s just fun?

An article about storytelling by Glenn Denny (AKA The Male Practitioner)

It is isn’t it? It’s fun, and cosy, and gentle, and wild, and amazing, and adventurous and about a million other words. Storytelling is amazing and it’s so important that we get this right for children.

If you stop and think about it long enough, storytelling is more than just picking up a book and having a moment together with your child. What you are actually doing is building so many neural connections about language, movement, experience, sound that it’s a wonder there is time for the story!

Research conducted by King’s College London and Brown University, Rhode Island showed that the brain has a sensitive period of time where the opportune moment for language development is at its highest between the ages of 2 and four years.

They conducted brain scans which found that a substance called Myelin, the insulation that connects neural pathways in the brain, is fixed from the age of 4 with the suggestion from these findings that the brain is more flexible and receptive much earlier on in the child’s development.

In fact this research has heavily influenced Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework for Early Years settings and now places a greater emphasis on the telling of stories in nursery so much so the emphasis on language in inspections is now observed like this:

“When observing interactions between staff and children, inspectors should consider how well you and your staff:

  • Engage in dialogue with children
  • Watch, listen and respond to children
  • Model language well
  • Read aloud and tell stories to children
  • Encourage children to sing songs, nursery rhymes and musical games
  • Encourage children to express their thoughts and use new words.”

(Pages 16-17 of The Early Years Inspection Handbook for Ofsted registered provision 2019)

Storytelling has always been part of the culture of early years, sitting everybody down and choosing a story and reading it together. It’s an opportunity to develop listening skills and build on the ability to ask and answer questions. But should storytelling just end there on the carpet, just a function or small period of the day?

 

HELL NO!

Think about your areas within the nursery and how you can leave provocations for storytime in each area. If you have a table devoted to number then why not choose Goldilocks and the three bears and leave three bowls and some porridge oats out to expand on counting after the children have asked you to read the book. Adding StoryProps Goldilocks and the three bears StoryPegDolls will allow the children to act out the story and even expand it using the rich new language they have been learning.

On your tuff tray have a book about The Little Gingerbread Man with rolling pins, gingerbread cutters and some gingerbread playdough (the recipe is on my website!). Adding to that you can use the StoryProps Little Gingerbread Man StorySpoon set to really unlock the potential for language use.

So, while I acknowledge that reading a story is immense fun it’s such a vital part of your day with our youngest learners and they deserve to have that golden opportunity to listen and model some amazing language.

About the author:

Glenn has been an Early Years Practitioner for over 20 years and has developed a passion for storytelling. He runs a blog site where he shares his own view of Early Years as wells as hints, tips, ideas and product reviews.

www.themalepractitioner.com

Thanks go to Glenn and his excellent knowledge and passion for all things Story.

Let us know what you think or share your experiences and wins!

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