Thursday, March 4, 2010


The first Snowdrops of the year appeared this week! There's still a bit of icy snow left about but the Snowdrops, like the crocuses at home, are persistent. When Jana brought in one from the garden on Monday, I told her my Snowdrop story which I've heard from many Waldorf sources. I could write it out, but it's better told in person. I then told it to Ruza and the kids, who adored it.

I spend a lot of time thinking about storytelling. How is it different to tell stories to adults versus children? How can we learn to tell stories better to both audiences? How can we become better listeners so that we can enjoy a "nice" story? I talked with a friend about it this weekend who said that we, as the audience, want to feel included in the story, feel like we are part of the drama. That's why, she said, "I went to the grocery store and got some yogurt, and it was good," isn't a good story. But I sit in circle every day with children who say things like, "Yesterday, I went swimming and today I am going to grandma's house." The other children are enthralled, they appreciate these stories. They don't need to be part of the drama. How can we recapture that?

I tell stories all the time. I tell nice stories. And another important thing is learning to accept the audience's silence. You need to give them a moment to absorb and not expect something that sounds cliché like, "That's nice." Just let the story fall. And be okay with it.

As the Snowdrops poke their drooping heads through the frozen ground, we are looking everywhere for signs of Spring. Yesterday, we found worms in a pile of old leaves. "It is alive! It is life!" shouted Ruza. How accurate? When everything around us feels dead, it is so good to see life. We moved them carefully to the compost pile and explained how they would be our little helpers, making us magical compost which will bring new life.

Another thing about spring with young children is this:

We as adults have come to understand from many years of experience that though winter can be dreary, spring will follow. We know what to expect. My kids are 2-5. They have had so few winters and springs, and even fewer that they actually remember. So, every winter to them, it must feel like the earth is simply dying--that this is the end of the world! Imagine the wonder of finding a worm living in the dead leaf, his wriggling pink body so vibrant against the darkness of decaying plant matter. It must really feel like Ruza said, but it's the Earth that's alive! The little Snowdrop reminds us of this.

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