Story-telling is an important “tool” the Waldorf teacher uses to present all manner of lessons. The goal of the teacher is to impart information in a way that speaks to children. The teacher may change the way she or he tells a story depending on the subject or age of the student.
There are Different Ways to Tell Stories
- Through a puppet show
- Through circle plays (with movement)
- Through telling
Story Telling in Kindergarten
In early childhood, children start to listen to simple nature stories. They will hear stories like fairytales, myths, legends, history stories, etc. Those stories are told orally – not read – by the teacher so that the connection between the teacher and child is maintained.
Stories in the kindergarten may either be told or perhaps presented as a puppet show. Kindergarten teachers in Waldorf schools tell stories not reading the stories from a book. Telling stories by memory allows teachers to connect with the children during the storytelling. Also, the teacher has the freedom to “read the room” and make the story relevant to the children and told with joy.
Story Telling in Primary and Secondary School
In older grades, teachers often introduce subjects like mathematics, history, physics, and even art and music through storytelling
In the first grade, the teacher introduces maths through an imaginative story about which includes characters like Princess Plus, Duke Division, or Emperor Equal. Through stories, children develop their ability to create a picture in their minds. Imagination is a very important skill for children’s future. Creative minds and creative thinkers are people who are needed in society.
Storytelling and Speech
Storytelling helps the child to develop clear speech. Children are, by nature, imitative. The teacher’s clear speech helps children learn the speak “like an adult”. Also, storytelling often includes words that can the child a rich vocabulary. Understanding speech is strongly connected with reading and writing as children are exposed to rich language before start learning reading and writing.
Storytelling and Vocabulary
Waldorf teachers are used to telling the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Those fairy tales have “difficult” vocabulary which the children learn quickly because of the repetition of the story. Waldorf kindergarteners often have more expansive vocabularies than other children their age.
No pictures in Storytelling
Waldorf schools let the children imagine the story that the teacher telling them. If the teacher shows them a picture then they will have in mind that specific picture. Therefore, the teachers prefer to let the children imagine the story in their way. Imagine if I ask you to imagine Cinderella. How she looks like? I am sure you will imagine the cartoon that everybody knows (blonde hair, long blue dress, blue eyes). That’s Walt Disney’s idea about her. In Waldorf schools, we encourage children to develop their imaginations and creative thinking.
Repetition of Storytelling
In a kindergarten classroom, the children repeat the story for several days. This is because repetition is the key to learning. When the children listen to a story and then go to sleep the same day, the story goes to the subconscious mind. When the story is repeated the next day the understanding of the content is deeper.
After a long period of hearing stories children develop the ability to write a good story in upper classes.