Helen Evans Storyteller
Children relate to well to dolls. In play, they put them in familiar situations and pretend they are happy or sad, cross or tired. A storyteller can use dolls to help children to understand many things in life. They are particularly useful in helping children learn about social issues.
I am especially interested in stories using persona dolls.
What is a persona doll?
Any kind of doll can be used as a persona doll. A teacher will generally have a number of persona dolls, each with its own name, personality and a family so that the group or class becomes familiar with them. The dolls' families will reflect the families of the children in the group, and stories will be based on situations that the group has faced or problems that need solutions.
Examples of situations:
Sharing, different emotions, making friends, moving house, gender issues, differences in race or ability, fears, bullying, teasing, aggressive behaviour, using words to solve problems, safety, health issues.
An important aspect of the stories is that children are invited to suggest the solutions to the problems.
Preparing the stories
At several points in the storytelling the children will be asked ‘How do you think he/she felt?’ and ‘What could he/she do?’
While preparing the story, the teacher/storyteller should think of several possibilities that the children may suggest. All solutions are accepted before the teacher tells which action the doll took.
I have found that four year olds are very capable of joining in a story in this way. After a few stories, more children are actively involved and will discuss why some solutions are better than others. The same type of story can be used successfully with older children.
The persona dolls are generally kept separate from dolls the children play with, but on request, can be used by the children.
Try some stories of this type. I’m sure you will be surprised at the responses of the children.
Brock and Gemma
|© Copyright HELENEVANS 2006|