Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘The Little Fir Tree’

Storytelling Starters ~ Wintering Out 2

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

A chance encounter

Wow! Coincidence and Storytelling in Education – two of my favourite themes in one chance encounter. There I was, on the train back from Cardiff last Saturday after watching New Zealand beating Wales at rugby (alas!) when, falling deep into conversation with the woman sitting next to me, I soon learned that she was American, a school librarian currently working in Germany and also – amazing! – a committed storyteller.

So all the way back through flooded Southern England, we exchanged experiences and ideas. Back in the 8Os she’d fallen in love with storytelling when she was sent to the big Jonesborough Festival that happens each year in Tennessee. Since then, as everything she said attested, she has developed a deep awareness of its power with children. More than that, she too believes that storytelling is especially important at this time when, spending so many hours on their Gameboys and watching TV, children have so much less of the vital experience of engaging with other people.

Reason for action

We know it to be true, all those of us who’ve told stories with children. It is such a powerful thing to do. It creates engagement, develops imagination and encourages language. But it’s in dire danger of falling by the wayside at this time when social media and the internet are getting overwhelming attention. Not that Twitter and Facebook and Google are not also marvellous for the sharing of stories and communication. What they do not have, however, is the face-to-face, ear-to-ear immediacy that storytelling gives.

So please spread the word.

It’s time for everyone who is committed to storytelling in education to speak to their friends about it and to think about what they can do to bring it back to public attention. Otherwise I fear the experience of a whole generation of storytellers who have gained a huge amount of know-how in the schools and libraries of our country is about to be lost.

This week’s seasonal tale

This little tale – The Little Fir Tree – went into my Blog at about this time last year. I’m repeating it now for two reasons – first, because I like it, second because it is about finding value in what can so easily be overlooked. (more…)

Storytelling Starters – In the Spirit of Christmas 1

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Giving is at the heart of the Christmas story. It’s central to storytelling too. Sharing a story, you pass on something the recipient can either keep and ponder or pass on to others. Last week I was contacted by someone enquiring about a story I told over twenty years ago. The story had been remembered and often retold. And it hadn’t been ‘mine’ to start with,  but one of those traditional stories that gets remade from teller to teller.

In the Spirit of Christmas starts today with two items focused on children. The first is a Christmas-time chant – and I’m including it in this first Christmas blog in the hope that it will give any of you who work with children plenty of time to get to know it before sharing it in the run-up to Christmas.

The second item is a story generally known as The Little Fir Tree.

Going to See Father Christmas is a chant I created myself but on a traditional pattern. I’ve used it many, many times, always with enormous enjoyment both for myself and my audiences. As my pattern (for I believe in recycling tried and true materials), I used the well-known action chant, Going On A Bear-Hunt, which you may already know either in its traditional oral form or from Michael Rosen’s book of that name. (more…)