Lakeside School at Black Kettle Farm offers birth – 1st grade (soon to be 2nd grade) education based on the Waldorf philosophy on a working farm in Essex, NY. Each week our Office Administrator, Kathleen Morse, writes on the Lakeside school and community and education based on the Waldorf philosophy through her perspective from the office window.
View from the Office Window: Storytelling
I was recently sent a research article, from the Economic and Social Research Council, titled Teaching Complex Language through Storytelling. Here is what the study shows:
A pioneering ESRC study by linguistics researchers has shown that ‘story time’ in primary schools can be used as a subtle way to introduce complex language structures to young children. The storytelling method teaches them to relate events in a coherent way and develops their communication skills…
The research suggests that it may be possible for education specialists to create stories that are deliberately constructed to contain more complex language structures, and aimed at being read out loud. “The teachers that we worked with welcomed the study and saw it as something that they could integrate into their normal classroom activities,” says Dr Serratrice.
This form of teaching language arts is called Whole Language. Here at Lakeside, we have a strong culture of story telling in all classrooms. We regularly tell stories to the children with a focus on fairy tales for the young children and 1st graders. The fairy tales not only have complex language structure but complex story lines as well. The children are immersed in a rich, deep and alive environment of language. These fairy tales also have powerful social and ethical underpinnings to help the children develop upright and virtuous ways of being, without being drilled about a moral code.
From this research, a rich whole language environment is the best teacher for young children in respect to English Language Arts. Now in the elementary school at Lakeside, we continue the practice of a rich Whole Language environment, but also integrate phonics work into the Language Arts work of main lesson as an important component of learning to read and write.
So, keep reading, or even better, telling your children stories with rich language, this is the best “lesson” that you can give her in grammar and how to be nicer to her sister!
Until next week,
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