Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Art of Storytelling

I was just reading a post on GreenMama about reading & writing & I was thinking about how Hug just isn't very interested in either despite having learnt all of his letters years back in his Montessori preschool.

He started in Montessori at 3 and he's almost 6 now. And the truth of the matter is just that! He's just not *interested* in communicating that way yet. And that's cool :) This year has been full of amazing lessons for me... We guessed that Hug would enjoy the Waldorf Steiner kindergarten & I have written before how much he really does love it!

The beautiful thing is that despite the fact that he isn't interested in reading or writing at the moment (& despite knowing that he actually can) I am blissfully aware of how *full* of creative wonder & energy & enthusiasm & imagination he is! He creates elaborate 'puppet-shows' for us & will dictate well-structured stories for us to preserve for him. He "reads" (word-for-word by memory) favourite books to Lovely. We spend a lot of family time reading together & daddy T (who just so happens to be a children's author), in particular, has taken both boys on many exciting bed-time adventures this year, having graduated to classic chapter books. I am basking the joy that Hug experiences in the art of story-telling.

The time will come when he feels the desire to have private reading experiences & he will read for himself. The time will come when he has private thoughts & will want to write them down. I have no doubt that he will read & write. In fact I think that he will be rather prolific! Instead I am learning to peel back my own preconcieved ideas of when & how and embrace now.

GreenMama referenced a few articles (both Montessori & Waldorf) she was reading on the matter & my heart rose reading this one, entitled Why Waldorf Works, & I quote:

Working with a real knowledge of the developing child, Waldorf

teachers begin teaching reading by cultivating children's sense of

language and their inner capacities to form mental images. Vivid

verbal pictures and the use of rich language are constantly

employed in the classroom. Difficult vocabulary and complex

sentence structure are not held back in the telling of tales.

Children sing and recite a vast treasury of songs and poems that

many learn by heart. Children live into the world of imaginative

inner pictures, totally unaware that they are developing the most

important capacities needed for reading comprehension, for

reading with understanding. They learn naturally and joyfully.

Both of my boys are always bringing new stories & songs to our dinner table. Songs that they have learnt by heart at school, about the beauty of the world & the seasons. They tell me about wild adventures they have imagined & what their friends said in the playground & when I really listen they are also telling me who they *are*. The are both verbose (! ;) & wordy & articulate. My own more-Montessori instincts lean towards the intellectual (though I know that the heart of Montessori is about more than that) but my children show me a different type of intellect - that of spirit & heart & running in nature & awe & wonder.

We are all a work in progress & I have just as much to learn as they do :)

Fb Comments
Comments :


  1. At the heart of Montessori is "Follow the child". I have seen so many children who ,despite exposure to language in the classroom are just not ready for the full on experience. Waiting is the hardest thing a teacher can do but also the most respectful and valuable thing.

    At my school we have an outside playground and if a child is drawn to it he can spend the entire day out there.

    The thing is, as you said, language is more that the written and read word and enjoyment and immersion in the rich aural and oral language will lead to written and read language when the sensitive period arrives.

    One of the things that "sells " Montessori is that parents think that children learn to read and write early. The truth is that it allows children to learn to read and write at the right time for them.

  2. I think that following your children in every aspect of their development is one of our major roles as parents. They will be ready only when they feel they are ready. We simply can't rush them into anything.

    And these beautiful animals - Sorry, but I am completely driven by them! They are so beautiful. Did you have a chance to ask in your local store if they are of any particular brand? Thank you!

  3. Hi Annicles & MCD :)

    Thanks for your comments - FOLLOW THE CHILD! Yes, it's a big lesson - & the best one.

    It's nice to be able to share my musings with mama's who understand.

    MCD - I had forgotten to ask about the animals :) but will next time I'm in there!

  4. What a beautiful post, We have been a waldorf inspired family since my children were wee babes, we then started waldorf homeschooling and through this journey we have also embraced an unschooling philosophy for the very reasons you are writing about... child led learning through play and life!

  5. Hello & welcome GardenMama! :)

    Ahhh, I love the idea of unschooling. If you can release to it - i'm sure it's an amazing experience. And, if the environment is prepared in just the right way, I believe that both Montessori & Waldorf can work in tandem with it too.

    Thanks for your lovely comments - I look forward to reading more of you soon :)

  6. A new visitor, I have really enjoyed reading about your learning adventures.

    Thanks for sharing


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...