Having explored ideas of looking after ourselves and finding out about some healthy fruit and vegetables we have had a week of developing literacy skills based around our traditional tale, “The Enormous Turnip”. We have been exploring ideas around telling stories. We have painted and drawn pictures of the characters in our story. The children were interested in the ‘speech bubbles’ in our book and so we wrote our own speech bubbles, thinking about what the characters might be saying.
Choosing, simple repetitive texts and revisiting them in lots of multi-sensory ways such as using the illustrations in the book, providing props and puppets, acting them out, using actions, good listening and joining in encourages children to be able to re-tell first parts of the story and then the whole tale. In our story sessions this week we incorporated the children’s developing drawing skills and pencil control to draw simple ‘stick’ figures (joining circles and lines) to make their own story maps. This is a process which helps them to identify the characters and to remember the sequence of events in the right order and then to be able to re-tell the story. The children used some new vocabulary from the story in their re-telling – ‘enormous’, ‘huge’, ‘budge’ and ‘heave’!
As well as re-telling familiar stories we have also been encouraging the children to make up their own stories. The nursery adults scribe the stories for the children and then read them aloud as the children act them out. These are highly creative sessions where children use their imaginations to create the characters and features in the stories. For example, holding hands to create castle walls and holding tall, pointed poses for towers, using body language and movement to create emotions and convey ideas such as anger, fear, love and happiness.
Note: “Helicopter” stories are named after the work of an American pre-school teacher, Vivian Gussin Paley, who conducted significant amounts of research about how storytelling and fantasy play significantly impacts on children’s academic and social growth and development. This type of play helps children to make sense of the world around them, develop language and to explore social interactions with their peers. Her book “The Boy Who Would Be A Helicopter” about the stories of children has inspired an approach to Early Years education called ‘Helicopter Stories: Letting Imagination Fly” which is being pioneered in the UK by Trisha Lee. You can read more about this at https://www.makebelievearts.co.uk/helicopter
Imagination is certainly beginning to fly at Ellesmere Nursery!