The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling. It is the most powerful way to put ideas into real life. It transports us to a warm as well as a cozy place and represents our first experience in really listening. It is one of the finest forms of education. Albert Einstein had once quoted that if we wanted our children to be more intelli-gent, we should read them fairy tales.
The National Storytelling Network defines storytelling as an ancient art form and a valuable form of human ex-pression. It is a two-way interactive art of using actions and words to disclose the images and elements of a story so as to encourage the imagination of listeners. Unlike the other art forms, storytelling does not create an imagi-nary barrier between the storyteller and the listeners. It uses language, gesture, physical movement, and vocaliza-tion to present a story. The listener is the co-creator of the narrated story as the actual story takes place in the listener’s mind. Storytelling varies from culture to culture. A deep understanding of human psychology, emotions, and motivations are the essential components of effective storytelling. It involves conveying information, a mes-sage, or knowledge to listeners in an entertaining way. It plays a significant role in the overall development of a child.
Here are some basic storytelling rules that are followed even by one of the greatest storytellers of the present generation, Pixar:
The four basic types of storytelling are oral, written, visual, and digital storytelling.
According to Maria Montessori, the goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natu-ral desire to learn.
Children are curious and restless by nature. It is extremely difficult to hold their atten-tion for a long period of time. Storytelling not only captures their attention but also boosts and improves their listening skill.
When children listen to stories, they become active participants in the story. They become one with the plot, picture the different characters in their minds, build a mental landscape, and travel to a land of dreams. Storytelling nurtures their creativity and satisfies their curious minds.
Children learn to express themselves better by communicating their ideas, thoughts and feelings. When children listen to stories, their vocabulary also improves. Always encourage them to ask questions.
When children are exposed to storytelling from a tender age, they pick up new ideas and become interested in reading and learning. They also learn to concentrate better and develop a love for books.
Besides academic, learning value or moral education is equally crucial for the holistic development of a child. Exposing them to mythological, religious, patriotic, and historical stories will enable them to know about our rich past. Children will learn moral values and develop finer aspects of life, such as love, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, kindness, and the like.
Man is a social animal and is expected to follow the norms of his/her culture and society. Storytelling inculcates cultural and social awareness in children. They learn to respect and abide by social norms and pick up important life skills. This is an important stepping stone to become responsible future adults.
Children are like sponges. They absorb whatever they listen, see, feel, and get to know. Storytelling, if interesting, sharpens their memory. Children love to recall what they have heard. If asked the right questions post narration, their retention skills can be tested.
It is possible to introduce the world to children using the tool of storytelling. They learn about the world, the peo-ple, and their own place in this world. Storytelling, for children, is a window to the world. To conclude, the pur-pose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.