Families and communities have shared stories as far back as history goes – as a way of communicating ideas, imparting lessons and entertaining one another. Montessori methodology has drawn on this philosophy of learning – incorporating these age-old principles into its teaching curriculum. In her critical work The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori said, “Is the child’s mental horizon limited to what he sees? No. He has a type of mind that goes beyond the concrete. He has the great power of imagination.”
At St Andrew’s, we use the art of storytelling to introduce ideas, teach new concepts, and to reinforce or extend lessons. Our new puppet theatre has formed an integral part of our lesson plans – as a way of introducing and encouraging both turn-taking and sharing, as well as expressive language and imagination inspiration.
The theatre has inspired hours of imaginative play and has been especially good for the more reserved children at school, who have beamed with confidence from behind the curtains of pretend – telling stories with previously unarticulated expression and certainty.
So far this year, we’ve explored traditional tales from Asia and Africa as well as Beauty and the Beast, Jack and the Bean Stalk and Peter Pan. We’ve also enjoyed The Owl and the Pussycat, stories about animals and even math-themed stories that have helped remind us about doubling, halving, shapes, time and fractions. And to top it all off, the children have performed their very own stories to their classmates.
It’s always wonderful to include an apparatus in our daily activities at school that has such a positive impact on the children, and we’re looking forward to many more story-centric moments with our little theatre.