Saturday, February 05, 2005

You're pulling my ear!

I had the last of a four-week program with preschoolers last week, a special program designed to introduce parents and children to the arts using a child-directed approach.

At the beginning and end of the program, the kids sit with me without their parents. In between, the kids explore various art stations. In the first of the four-week session, the kids aren't sure what's going on. Most of them don't know me yet and are wondering if this is going to be fun. I sit on the floor with them, play my harmonica, learn their names, tell a story, get everybody on my side if possible. They keep a respectable distance. By the last week, the kids are practically in my lap (15 or so of them!).

This last week, my buddy Tim (age 5) had some ideas for the last story. Since the story we'd begun with was "The Gunniwolf," I wanted to tell that again, to tie everything together. I know, I know, that's not so child-directed, but Tim was fine with the idea, as were the other kids. I promised we would make up a story together at the end. Still, Tim had some things to say, "Make it a dinosaur! A dinosaur!" He crept closer and closer, and finally stood next to me, pulling my ear, as if to pour his ideas into my head.

As long as I could give attention to everyone, I didn't mind. Tim has so many ideas, they just spill out of him. Earlier he and another child and I were playing a game, and when I didn't do it right, he said, "Maybe you're having trouble keeping control of yourself." I suspect his kindergarten teacher has said this to him more than once.

Sometimes all kids need is a little acknowledgment before the story can go on. Sometimes that's a bit too much, and I gently suggest that the child listen a little. I think Tim mostly needed to be heard--that's why he pulled on my ear.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Hi Priscilla! Just found your blog via and thought I'd say hello as a fellow storyteller (being paid for being a parish priest) in Oxford UK.
My current blog is at