The Power of stories

‘Once upon a time’ in a land far far away……...

…… doesn't that already make your mind travel to a land far far away. A phrase that we heard far too often in our childhood stories and since time immemorial most stories for children start with that. But what we don't realize is that children can also learn about genres, authors, shapes, fractions, so much as inquire about monuments and simple machines. Stories can even trigger their curiosity, make them help their friends and understand and solve issues with them.. Children make a unique connection with the books. Stories form an important part of children’s experiences and have immense educational value too. Stories have been an integral part of everyone’s growing up. Bedtime stories by grandparents and parents play an important role in teaching life long lessons. Stories create a connection between learning and children. Be it life lessons or subject specific.

Stories have a deep rooted impact in every child’s life, that can be used in the holistic development of a child:

  1. Early Literacy - Children are exposed to a wide variety of information which helps them to expand their vocabulary, not just introducing new words but by also rehearsing the context in which these words can be used. Thereby summarising that a word has several shades and can be used in various contexts. Even when dealing with toddlers, who may not be able to relate to the meaning but they construct the meaning in the way we use words in our expressions, while narrating the story. It helps in making links between spoken and written words, better so if used along with pictures.

  1. Broadens Horizon - Stories have their unique way to open up the doors of imagination and creativity. It creates a sense of wonder. While listening to stories, children tend to foster imagination, self-expression and open themselves to new ideas. It’s like a window to another world with ample spaces to explore and trigger curiosities, to know more and more. Imagination instigates creativity which in turn helps nurture a culture of innovation and thereby building a society that breeds new ideas, one that cultivates advancement at its very core.

  1. Listening and communication - Stories help improve listening skills as they tend to grasp attention while simultaneously enhancing communication skills. Whenever we read a story to children it provokes thoughts or ideas which a child, if encouraged, would want to share. This applies to adults as well, recall any one of your favourite PDs where the team leader shares a story with a focus on a particular area, which in turn sparks the employees to work towards it by sharing ideas. That's the power of stories: we listen, we get instigated, we communicate, and we achieve.

  1. Bonding - Stories are a great way to bond with children. Telling and retelling the stories helps them to open up their minds to us. They feel secure and comfortable in sharing their ideas, which helps to deepen the bond. Stronger the bonding, the more comfortable children feel to express emotions and viz a viz, building stronger relations. This bonding helps to boost self esteem and also to build their personality and raise confident individuals.

  1. Celebrate diversity - Stories open up the child's mind to acceptability. Acceptance of various cultures, caste, colour, creed and all other diversities. There is no discretion in the child's mind from the beginning, which makes them open minded and helps in creating future global leaders. Ones who Embrace, accept and respect ethnic diversity..

  1. Socio - emotional learning - specifically in testing times such as that of the COVID pandemic, this is all the more important. Children are undergoing a lot of emotions, some might find it difficult to discuss. Also sensitive issues (bullying, bereavement, discrimination, family issues and more) are difficult for children to handle and if unexpressed can cause a lot of emotional damage. Stories have a great impact in addressing such concerns. Sensitive matters and their fickle emotions need to be addressed. Stories can reach children and help them feel more secure, safe and open up communication channels to address these issues. These stories will form part of the children’s understanding of the world and offer implicit guidance as to how they can express themselves. Stories that portray positive outcomes, their characters create a sense of shared experience, taking away their tragic loneliness