Importance of storytelling in early childhood development

A story! Tell me a story! I’m sure this request is made by most children as an indispensable act before they go to bed. This act dates back to the time since human civilization has developed. Grandparents and parents love to tell children stories more so ever fairy tales.Countless generations of children have grown up listening to the fairy tales that remain popular today. Bettelheim argued classic fairy tales promote children´s psychological stability. His theory is based on the concept that these stories “speak” to children at each stage of their development in a unique way. “Early childhood is the age of fairy tales. Language used in fairy tales is not complicated and is easily understood by children who get into a magical mystical world. Any fairy tale is, by definition, simple yet mysterious. Hardly does one begin the narration with “Once upon a time…” that children calm down and are carried away into the world of their fantasies. Fairy tales help in the development of imagination and creative thinking, one of the fundamental psychological formations of the preschool childhood.

Fairytales must be in the original version, no “sugarcoating.” They help the children to develop their imagination and parents are given the opportunities to teach their children critical thinking skills. Fairy tales are also used to teach morals and lessons. While choosing a fairytale the child’s age and developmental stage needs to be considered along with the time of the day, perhaps the time of the day to read the fairy tale to the child too.Children need to hear the same story over and over again. Fairytales have the power to heal.This makes children know that we all share something important, the need to make sense of life with stories and the hope that good always rides over evil.
The more a child hears, sees, and experiences, the more she/he knows and acquires. This means that she possesses more elements of reality in her experience, and so her imagination is considerably more productive and much more active
The style of a fairy tale is easy to understand for a child. In the art and fantasy of fairy tales lies a very deep wisdom which has power to awaken children from the sleep of ordinary life. Forces of healing are also hidden in each fairy tale. The folk fairy tales of various nations and of ancient times, such as the Grimms collected, are considered basic education. Out of them grow the other subjects – painting, drawing, writing, counting. The most important effect of the fairy tale is that they stimulate the feeling that man is a being of development, of struggle, of metamorphosis, and that behind all the “Fairy tales form the foundation for the teaching in the kindergarten, first and second grades of a Rudolf Steiner school.

One of my favorite fairy tales is Goldilocks and the three bears
While narrating the stories to the children with the use of a flip puppet the children thoroughly enjoyed the fairy tale. They actually walked along the path of the forest, tasted the porridge, sat on the chairs and slept on the beds. They felt the emotions of baby bear.From the Grims fairy tales the Magic Porridge Pot creates a vivid picture of imagination. Having done this in a ‘Circle’ (Movement) form, the gestures and the movement help the children to actually flow with the porridge.
Certainly fairy tales besides adding to the language and crossing cultural boundaries widens the children’s thought process, creating a platform to be highly imaginative.
Fairy tales could be short
They could be long
They were there Yesterday
They are there Today
They will be there Tomorrow




Written by Sunita Bajaj – (Teacher at The Reading Tree – Pre Primary School, Thane) –

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