I have quite taken to this idea of storytelling. I have done it at home with my own little ones for quite some time, but since September I have bravely taken it outside my home and into the Kindergarten classroom.
Storytelling captivates little ones like nothing else (Well, Quiet Bins are a very close second). They are so excited and keen to hear what will come next, and since I am not reading a story I can use my eyes to really make the stories come alive.
Storytelling is a fabulous way to get little ones ready to read – much like the magic art of reading aloud (which I write about in big detail in this post called The Art of Reading Aloud to Kids).
It teaches children about story structure, plot, expectations in literacy, and so much more.
And since it also really helps to captivate little ones attention, I like to use it while doing social stories in the classroom (and at home, in fact)
Social stories, in a nutshell, are stories that help little ones learn and remember social expectations. Some (many) children need lots of reminders and help learning certain rules and expectations. Storytelling makes this fun, engaging, meaningful, and it really, really helps many little ones!
Here is a social story I made up for my little guy, and used in the Kindergarten classroom as well. I used these cute little felted woodland animals as the characters in the story, but props are not at all necessary.
UPDATE: This social story has been so well received it is now available to buy! Get your copy of Clever’s New Trick
This sweet story is about Clever the Fox who has some trouble handling his big emotions.
It is a cute story because I have tied in a little craft with it. At the end of the story each of the children can make a “stop and think” bracelet to join Clever’s Club.
As I am writing this I am getting nervous – adults are a much tougher audience than 4 year olds! Please be kind. Though I know you are …
Here is the beginning of the story:
Clever the fox walks around the edge of the forest with his shoulders slumping. He lets out a little sigh as he watches the other animals play.
How he wishes he had been invited to join in the fun!
Poor Clever. He is feeling very lonely and sad.
Just then the wise Jerome, the forest gnome, notices Clever looking a little down and decides to head over for a chat.
“What’s the matter Clever? You seem a bit blue.”
“None of the other animals want to play with me, Jerome. I just don’t know why. Do you?”
“Hmmm …” Jerome thought for a moment. “I just might. Clever, you are a kind Fox, but you do have trouble with your temper. When you get mad or hurt you often yell or even push. This makes the other animals feel frightened. Perhaps they are nervous to play with you.”
“Oh …” Clever said gloomily.
“But don’t worry Clever. I know a trick that will help you make good choices and will let all of the animals see what a kind boy you truly are.”
“A trick? That’s wonderful! Please tell me.”
“Do you know the feeling your body gets when you are upset? Sometimes it’s a tight feeling in your tummy, or you feel your hands clench, or your face gets hot. Whenever you feel that feeling you need to STOP and count to three very slowly.”
Jerome demonstrates with a great big breath and a slow count to three, 1-2-3.
“After you count to three you need to THINK. You need to think about what you can do to solve the problem that won’t get anyone upset. I even have a neat craft for you to do to remember this trick.”
Jerome, the forest gnome, explains the craft to Clever, but Clever decides to save the craft to do with some of the woodland animals so he doesn’t feel so lonely.
The story continues with Clever going on a journey through the forest meeting three different woodland animals. Each of Clever’s new friends also have skills they are working on.
Clever likes to learn that he is not the only one who needs to practice something – and he likes to learn that others also make mistakes.
The craft to accompany this social story is a simple beaded bracelet. I used pipecleaners to make it simpler for little fingers.
The kids can thread on one red stop bead, to remind them to stop, and three little beads of various colours as think beads, to remind them to think. I tell the kids that the think beads are many different colours because we need to think of lots of different ways to solve problems.
This story is a good chance to introduce the idea of “Big Problems” that need an adults help right away (if you are feeling hurt or scared) and “Little Problems” that children can first try to work out on their own.
Story telling is a very novel thing for many little ones, so you get some very attentive little ears. This makes it a great chance to work on lots of things!
Feel free to try out this story with your own little ones – of course the details don’t matter at all, and neither do the characters, just have some fun with it. If you are having fun with the story so will the little ones listening to you.
Thanks for reading friends – I hope you are having a lovely week and keeping warm!
Please be sure to check out Clever’s New Trick!