When I begin telling stories to a new group of two, three and four year olds, sometimes a few of the more sensitive ones will begin to cry. New faces or situations can throw them off their tuffets, causing them to emote. The weeping and wailing never lasts long, thank heavens! Once we finish with the introductory song, we get down to the business storytelling and that stops them every time.
With young children, I always begin my story classes with a few ‘little stories’ or finger plays. The crying ones quickly realize that if they are making too much noise, they won’t be able to hear what happens to the ‘little mouse,’or ‘grandma’s spectacles’ or ‘the cup of tea.’ No matter how short or insignificant a story may be, a story is a story and we all need to know what happens. Like music, stories are an essential part of the human experience and even the youngest among us respond to the arch of a story.
After a few minutes of warm up stories, we plunge into world mythology. Once again, no matter how unsophisticated the listeners may be, they intuitively comprehend the language of myths.
After 60 minutes of creation myths, hero/heroine adventures and pourquoi tales, we end with a good-bye song. As I pack up to leave, I am often hugged by a few of the children, and it’s usually the previous criers, which makes their hugs moist and messy. This is truly, one of the major hazards of storytelling.