Moved By Story teaches storytelling as powerful parenting tool and pathway to transformation
Do you have memories of your Grandpa telling tall tales of sly foxes or speedy rabbits by the fire? Did you grandmother cast you in the role of “Helpful Chick” as she played “Little Red Hen” and baked bread? While children often associate such memories with laughter and fond memories of a beloved adult, stories have long wielded a unique power as a parenting tool.
Marianna de Croes of Moved by Story shares, “Folk tales, myths, and legends from all cultures speak to the child’s inner core: inspiring, guiding, transforming.”
Through her four to six week workshop series, de Croes affirms stories offer a captivating means for guiding children, allowing adults to move away from less effective measures such as scolding.
Importantly, telling stories meets children at their developmental level by using imagery, humor, archetypes, and often physical engagement (e.g. hand gestures or finger play) as instructional aids. As parents and other adults craft stories for children, a “shared imagination” develops between them. This sharing, also builds strengthened relationships. Add a story to a wind down time in a family’s day, such as naptime or bedtime ritual, and the stories additionally add calmness and deepen closeness.
Guidance vs. Scolding
Parents enrolled in Moved by Story’s workshops quickly buy in to the idea of tucking story telling into their parenting tool belt. Often frustrated by their children’s response to scolding or discussion about behavior and their own tendency to feel exasperated, annoyed, or agitated while delivering a verbal reprimand, stories offer an interesting alternative for guiding behavior. Although a story’s delivery may be best reserved for a time when children are ready for listening – which may not always be immediately following a behavioral incident – parents can employ storytelling as a fun, engaging way to communicate values such as sharing, patience, honesty, and other virtues to their children.
Waldorf Educators like Marianna de Croes believe children live in the world of imagination, and find storytelling as a powerful pathway to engaging the child’s developing consciousness. Building on the Waldorf pedagogical theory of ages and stages, de Croes helps parents work with their own voices and gestures to tell age-appropriate stories. For example, children from birth to 5 years old respond well to simple stories, which may feature synchronized hand motions or short songs. Storytelling styles change as children grow up, a concept explored more deeply in the Moved by Story workshops.
Shared Imagination Deepens Relationship
“When we speak heart to heart to children hidden treasures awaken between us,” says Marianna. Teaching parents stories to delight and enlighten children, Marianna encourages parents to observe the way retelling these stories at home deepens family relationships. One parent shares, “I find all I have to do is say, ‘remember the slow and steady turtle’ while smiling at my son, and he will often return my smile and stop running.”
Another parent reflected on a tense moment while driving in the car, and how recounting her daughter’s favorite story immediately soothed everyone. “From the first few words of my story, I could feel the mood shift in the car. Even I felt suddenly more calmed!”
Bringing Ritual and Calm to Both Child and Parent
Moved by Story helps parents learn stories and storytelling techniques in a relaxed and fun setting. Instructor Marianna helps parents bring an element of ritual to the process by offering tips for creating wind down or bedtime routines. Lighting a candle, picking a cozy spot (e.g. at the dinner table, near the fire, or in bed), and beginning and ending stories with special phrases, are all calming activities which serve to ground both children as listeners and the parents as tellers.
Find stories as your means to heal and transform by signing up for your Moved by Story class series today! The fee per class is just $15, with workshops offered at Summerfield Waldorf School (in the “After Care” room) on March 12 and 19 from 8:30 – 10a.m or in Novato from March 11 – May 27 from 8:00 – 9:30 pm (see flyer below.)