written by Mij Byram
"A person’s a person no matter how small." ~ Dr. Seuss
Those of us who work with young children are aware of the unique skill set needed to reach an audience with limited life experience and cognitive range but infinite curiosity and willingness to believe what you say.
TIP: Maintain Focus, Awareness and a Calm Demeanor - Not everyone can stay focused while watching a little one wiggle and jiggle because they are so deep in their own imagery that they are unwilling to acknowledge or tend to their immediate bodily needs. If you can relax and stay in the story, so will the child. There may be a wet spot on the carpet after they leave, but in the meantime, they have traveled with you through a universe of stories. And in the big picture a change of clothes is no big deal for a super hero.
TIP: Consider Point Of View - I don’t mean first person, second or third person. The actual point of view of a child sitting on the floor will determine what they see. If you are close to the children get down on their level so they are not looking at your toes or up your nose. Are you are standing or sitting far enough away to make it easy to see your face without neck strain? Be thoughtful and adjust when needed.
TIP: Consider Adults - When working with children, consider teachers and parents as part of the audience. It’s nice to be able to offer something of interest to them as well. Layered stories can please both child and adult. What would keep you interested in a children’s story?
TIP: Listen with your eyes to see what they are telling you with their bodies.
I often feel I’m holding a golden secret. A secret about how to make the world a better place. Through storytelling we have the opportunity and responsibility to add more kindness, compassion, generosity, honesty, courage and justice to the lives of our listeners. This should NOT be a secret.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not." ~ Dr. Seuss
Bio: Mij is a highly respected, sought-after Early Childhood innovator with over 20 years of experience using stories to plant the seeds of literacy and love of language. Her workshops and play-shops have trained teachers, librarians, parents, and storytellers from Maine to Florida how to build character and promote literacy through story. Mij has been a staff member of the National Storytelling Network, a board member of the Florida Storytelling Association and president of the Palm Beach County Storytelling Guild. Mij is the founder and publisher of the monthly newsletter South Florida Storytelling News since 2005.