Susan MacKay, from the Opal School has a wonderful blog. After spending time with her in Reggio Emilia, I began following her. See what you think. Do you agree that story is a powerful way to gain insight to ourselves and those we encounter each day? If so, how can you, in your practice, embrace “story”? How can you use “story” to make visible to parents and the community the learning that is occurring within your schools? Could you share stories with parents on a story night? What about sending stories into the local newspapers? Could you self publish classroom compilations?
At Opal School, we have spent years asking ourselves– What is the relationship between play and language? In Reggio Emilia a decade ago I heard Jerome Bruner state that we learn the syntax of our language to tell stories. I’m sure we are born driven to do this: to connect, express, relate, inquire, research, discover, explore. I’m sure this is true no matter what circumstance we happen to be born within. I’m sure that as joyfully and naturally as we learn to speak our stories we can be supported to write them down, and to desire to read the stories of others. And I’m sure that school can be a particularly rich place for these things to happen. Because at school we get to encounter the stories we might otherwise never know.
Maybe these are the stories of distant authors that a teacher we wouldn’t otherwise know brings to share. And maybe these are stories of the others in the room, from the neighborhood or from across town, who bring with them experiences we wouldn’t otherwise know. And as they share, and as we share, we get to know more about our own selves. How are our own experiences, and our ideas about those experiences special, unique, interesting, original? And do I have the language I need to get it right? The more clearly you show me how well you see me, the better I know who I am.
This is literacy. And it happens through play.