Any one can tell a story, what makes it special is how the story teller intergrates the audience into her story. As long as I am in front of my audience, I make eye contact with each and every one of them ( I try to atleast). Ask them questions and use them as my sound board. Children love it.They enjoy the freedom the story teller gives them, to express what the feel, at the same time the thrill that whatever they say will be used within the story is a great energiser. I can feel the audience going through the range of emotions that I express in the course of a story.
Of course that makes me come to the point that the story is the most important part of the experience, however animated or expressive the story teller may be, the story has to appeal to your age group. One thing about children is that they cannot be easily fooled. If the story teller does not have a good script, then the reaction of the audience will be quite contrary.
Thinking on these lines I have to tell you my experience with this play school, TK. I approached them for my first session and they quite happy to use me ( I guess as a novice I didnt want to charge them more, so that was a crucial factor, in their agreeing to have the session). The first story was my "signature story", which I followed up with an activity . Great show, good feedback. The staff was very happy, lot of heavy meaning in the story, and they were happy that I had given some " value" based session, ( for a group of children ranging from toddlers to kindergartners).
Then came the next session. Eager beaver that I was, I jumped at their invitation. That was my first mistake,(I should have tried to appear busy). This was a fun story, lot of animal sounds that I knew would appeal to such young children....Yet my feedback was shocking!
'Last time was better', they said, 'not upto the mark', they felt.
I came back home pensive. I knew by the way the children react whether the children like the story or not, and this time the children were more involved than the last time. Was I wrong in my choice of story.
Not at all.
It was in the expectations of the adults in the environment.
I tell the story, keeping the children in mind, but adults some times fail to see that all learning need not have some " value", some "moral".
Stories need not always have a moral standing or be an educative experience.
I could have extracted some 'value' from the story that I did, but...do I need to? What do you say?