A meaningful world of fairy tales. How is it? How can we create it? How does it enrich us?
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”(Albert Einstein)
On the 15th of February, 2019, educators, parents and everyone interested in telling fairy tales, who wanted to know more and to understand why fairy tales are so important to us, gathered at the seminar in Kaunas Waldorf kindergarten “Šaltinėlis” to attend Rasa Ragauskaitė Driukienė‘s lecture and to know more about international Erasmus + project "Tradition and Innovations in Kindergarten" (tik.pixel-online.org). Šaltinėlis is one of the project's associated partners. Also Lina and Sigita, teachers from Mažeikiai Waldorf kindergarten "Namučiai after Smilga", shared their experiences on how they implemented project activities in their kindergarten, telling fairy tales and reflecting with children.
This article would like to share the knowledge gained during the lecture.
Tales are a way to communicate with a child, teaching life through a fairy tale can be quite different, but indeed effective and meaningful. When listening to a fairy tale, the child experiences many emotions, can identify with the characters, and experience many different things. In fairy tales, not only is everything beautiful and hassle-free, but it also presents difficulties, showing that they can be overcome. Fairy tales, as a cultural heritage of a country, are of great importance for the spiritual growth of a child. Fairy tales meet the child's feelings and curiosity, creating and developing in his mind new concepts, helping to understand more things about the world around him. They also help to familiarize themselves with primary professions (for example, in a fairy tale there is often a baker, miller, blacksmith, hunter, farmer, etc.). They leave a deep impression which, even after many years, will affect an adult‘s actions, behavior, thoughts and feelings. Therefore, as the lecturer Rasa said, it is very important to select the fairy tales, to follow them according to the age of the child, its maturity, the time of year, the intent (what kind of message we want to convey to the child with tracking the fairy tale) and so on.
Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf Schools, gave inspiration to teachers to use fairy tales with the young child. The effect of a fairy tale is likened to that of mother’s milk: the child takes it in as nourishment for their soul.
How to choose a fairy tale? How to tame it?
Tales are divided by:
- Elementary scripts: "Once upon a time lived the grandfather and grandmother ...", and so on.
- Animal fairy tales - where the main characters are animals .
- Formulations - where there are repetitions, eg Heaven collapses, Rops, i.e.
- Miracles - where there is a safe space from which the main character has to leave, then something happens, he is tested, and in the end he returns to his space, home, castle, and his feats in society are recognized.
- Folk tales are the stories of unknown origin associated with tradition change with the people
- Literary fairy tales - it is a story of one author
- Author's Tales
- Household Tales
- Legends and myths
- Stories about the child itself
In the first seven years (for children 1-7 years old), it is suggested to start with lullabies (looting, lullabies singing by ourselves), stories about the child itself, stories about how we lived and live now (i.e. a fairy tale about today, or a tale about tomorrow), formulas, animal, wonders.
In order for the child to relate to the fairy tale and you to have a relationship with the child (because only by following the story, and not reading, you can have eye contact, etc.), it is very important to follow the story rather than read it. So, as Rasa taught us during the seminar, it is important to become „friends“ with the fairy tale, making it your own, for both the adult telling the story or the child following it. Therefore, before you feel it, you need to read it several times, see if it is clear the story and pay attention to whether the terminology is clear to us. It is important to feel the tale, to take a deeper look at what the tale is telling us, how to go with it and to imagine it. Only then will we be able to pass it on to the child. Words only affect the child for the 7%, the remaining 93% is passed on through the visual representation, the feelings transmitted, the senses. Hence, before you follow, answer yourself: what is my relationship with the tale? What does the tale tell me? What is the storyline of the fairy tale (what's next)? Can we imagine it as a movie or as a dream? What are the key words (such as drunken, triumph), keyword combinations that won't change even if we'll tell the fairy tale for the 10th time (kids will definitely take note of them and notice if they're changed). Repetition gives security (so they realize they already know that story).
Every time you start to follow a fairy tale, you are invited create a song, create a phrase for a quiet singing, so the baby's body is ready to listen to the fairy tale. Of course, the inner state of the follower is also important here and he must be calm, separate from the outside world, worries, outward thoughts, feel himself, get into the fairy tale. Also, following the story, the focus should be on the fairy tale, on contact with the child, not on intonation. The voice should be calm, positive, not obscuring the thought, meaning. The fairy tale itself is useful, so do not make any frightening voices, screams, etc., because it is not a performance, not a theater, such actions are only activated by children. Also, by following a calm tone, let the childs fantasize, feel into their imagination, because every child imagines a fairy tale in his own way (i.e. maybe the wolf is calm, not aggressive).
It is recommended for the the fairy tale to be like a daily ritual, a bow, an important time a child waits every day. It is recommended to follow the same fairy tale for a few days to 6-7 years or until the child asks for the same fairy tale, so the child will fully understand the fairy tale, understand, understand and understand. When a child starts asking for a new fairy tale each time, this may already indicate his next level of maturity, the transition to the next stage.
If you already decide to read fairy tales and not tell them by yourself, Rasa gives you some tips on how to choose books.
- Choose texts that are not changed (original)
- Choose books without illustrations (so the child will concentrate, concentrate on the fairy tale and not distract by watching the pictures, and will also develop his imagination)
- If you already want to choose a book with pictures, it is recommended that they are artistic, artistic illustrations inviting to fantasy. Completely complete, bright illustrations destroy the ability of the child to create his own image.
- Choose fairy tales that encourage your child to act, think, and survive
- The reading book should inspire the child to tell the story
- Before reading a fairy tale, it is important for the reader to think about the fairy tale
- Begin reading simple fairy tales.
Many thanks to Rasa Ragauskaite Driukienė for sharing her experience, advice and familiarization with the importance of fairy tales and their tracking. Let us not forget that telling fairy tales for us and our children will drive us to another world, liberating and allowing to fantasize. Follow them and be happy.