Traditional Tales – The Ugly Duckling
Wow! What a Story. I can’t actually believe we’ve grown up with this story, as a person of mixed ethnicity I am astounded about just how many versions of this story, talk about the duckling being ugly with brown feathers, and how at the end it turns into a beautiful swan. “Beautiful and white, with a head so noble and high”, to be precise, yes those are the exact words in some retellings. “Beautiful and White” as if being white gives the Swan extra special bonus points. I can’t help but see the words “brown” and “white” jump out in front of me. Being someone who believes all children can grow up, continuing to see one another, as just another human being before them. Different because of their unique gifts of expression, but with more similarities than they can count, nevertheless all individually amazing. Well, this story or versions of this story has made my jaw drop, eyes well and whole demeanor crumple up…. whilst covering my eyes. ‘Cringe’ is what I think I’m looking for here.
What a way to inspire and uplift our young. Many of which are sitting in circle time with either themselves or their peers, having links to many other countries, ethnicities, and/or skin tones. It’s called being human and we are all a product of our big and beautiful World.
When asked recently to run an interactive storytelling workshop on The Ugly Duckling, for Early Years and Key Stage 1. I did my research, which consists of checking out different versions of a story, to create themed songs, drama games and cross-curricular activities. When I discovered what was there, my mission was on. If I am to tell this story, this traditional tale, you better bet your G wagon, I am going to tell it, in a way, that does not give our children, the future of our planet, a complex about whether or not they are beautiful, or be a catalyst for them to question whether or not their skin tone, is right or wrong.
The obvious approach is to make the “ugly” in the story, more about the actions that are taken to make another individual feel hurt. As for the physicality stuff, well, that will not be a focal point in DramEd’s retelling. My ducklings’ mother won’t disown her baby because of his appearance, just because it slightly differs from the rest of his siblings. I want children to trust their mothers. I want children to trust in the World. It’s safer than we like to make out. Yes, others can be unkind and yes there is beauty growing as an individual. But in my story, “colour” will not be mentioned. It doesn’t have to be, there is no need.
Published by Grace – Eductional Entertainer at DramEd.
December 2017 – With a Croc who’s fast on its toes!
This month in our Storytime, Move and Rhyme Sessions we complimented Nursery learning themes on Travel, Opposites, Winter and Christmas.
Open Very Carefully a Book with a Bite, by Nicola O’byrne, well I just can’t recommend it enough. Honestly, it was brilliant! It’s a well thought out book with a twist, which starts off as ‘The Ugly Duckling’ by Hans Christian Anderson, but gets hijacked by a Crocodile, who ends up eating his way out of the book! This story was hilarious and had us, adults and children, laughing along! Not to mention the way it left us searching for the Croc around the Nursery.
When it came to opposites, we played some fab Drama games to explore this theme. We brought our hands to life and shared what our hands would do if they were happy versus sad, making big shapes versus small shapes, moved fast versus slow. Our Story that followed was 10 Little Penguins by Kate Toms, she’s a brilliant author and much of her work includes lots of rhyming which is brilliant for little ones at this stage of their development.
Snowman and the Snow Dog by Raymond Briggs, was a great tale that helped us explore Winter and Snow as a theme. This tied in nicely after our Sunday filled with Snow! We encouraged conversation about all their experiences with Snow and we used our imaginations to get set for building a Snowman. With our imaginations, we built a Snowman and took a trip to the Northpole, where we took part in an annual snow race and met Father Christmas. This story really got their imagination going, Cybertots literally transformed into a room filled with flying snow boys and girls!
I am rooting for your children, every single one of them! Until the next newsletter, have a Fabulous Story filled month and a wonderful Christmas & New Year
Educational Entertainer @ DramEd
More fab tales for Christmas: The Snow Man by Raymond Briggs | Twas the Night before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore
Black History Month – Nelson Mandela
18th October 2017 ~ Key Stage 2 Drama session with DramEd:
“Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the World” Nelson Mandela.
Today I played music from the South African Xhosa Tribe and asked the children to get into pairs and create a moving piece about whatever they felt inspired to do. I then progressively said words and asked them to respond to the words through movement. It didn’t matter if they were familiar with the words I was about to say or not, what was important was for them just to create. The words I said were TRAVEL, SOUTH AFRICA, TRIBE and NELSON MANDELA….what they all came up with was so interesting, because although the majority of children did not know who I was talking about, they all demonstrated the oppressor and the oppressed. When I said the words “Nelson Mandela” there were cries of “What??”, “Who’s that!!???!!”. So I just had to ask them to freeze. For us all to explore what they were expressing through movement. We rounded this After School Club with a short story of Nelson Mandela. We love learning through Drama!
Making up a story!
Today as a part of DramEd’s I Can Tell a Story – Storytelling Adventures, we were going to tell our own story in Cybertots Copley Close!
We warmed up our voices through our Caterpillar themed song which when sang well, brought out our big red and yellow fluffy caterpillar.
Red and Yellow
You’re such pretty fellow
The children were introduced to a number of caterpillar puppets. They were also introduced to a snake puppet, but did very well to catch on that this was a trick and was in fact a snake not a caterpillar!
I made up a story with my puppets, it was called ‘The Very Full Caterpillar’.
Once upon a time there was a very full up caterpillar, he was so full he was almost ready to do his magic transformation. A little bird had been watching the caterpillar eat his food and was waiting for the moment to gobble him up, but he wanted the caterpillar to be as fat as possible. He planned that today would be the day. The caterpillar looked nice and fat, so the bird waited for the caterpillar to crawl out from underneath the branch as he usually did. But he never showed up! Little did he know, the transformation was taking place, what did the bird stay for 15 days to find???
The children loved my story and were eager to share their own version of a caterpillar story and we had time to listen to one. *Poppy’s story began with “Once upon a time” and was about a Caterpillar who got eaten by a bird! However something extremely strange and out of this world happened. The Bird changed into a Butterfly! This whole process, including the children watching me make up my story, clearly sparked their imaginations and so many of them were eager to give it a go. This is what we want by the time they start primary school. Children learning how to piece a story together with a beginning, middle and end and something very exciting taking place.
Fun and Imaginative things to do with the kids this Half Term
Date: 10th April 2017
I hope you’ve been having a fun filled Easter Break! As a mother of three boys who loves seeing their eyes light up and imaginations sparked, here are a few of our favourite places this half term.
Place such as…..
Bekonscot Model Village – Great for all ages! Wonder around this fantastic model village with fairy sized people. Where? Beaconsfield. Price? £10 for Adults and £6 for Children http://www.bekonscot.co.uk
Hellfire Caves – Delve underground with Dungeons and Caves. I’ll be honest, we’ve heard it’s fun, our trip is planned on Thursday. Where? High Wycombe. Price? £7.50 for Adults and £6 for children (Under 3’s go free). http://www.hellfirecaves.co.uk
Northala Fields – This set of hills based in Northolt is a fun location to get some exercise and spark the imaginations of young minds. They’ll see themselves on top of the World and the park at the bottom is pretty creative too! Where? Kensington Rd, Northolt UB5 6UR. Price? FREE
Have you been anywhere fun and creative? Or do you know a place? Let us know so we can share the love!
Talk for Writing
I am excited to share that DramEd has recently engaged with a practice called Talk for Writing, developed by author, Pie Corbett and deputy Head of the National Literacy Trust, Julia Strong.
Together both Pie and Julia have developed a number of books which aim to teach, teachers, practitioners and families how to inspire reading, literacy and communication in a way that works and is fun and stress free. Where regardless of where they live, families income or nationality, no child is left behind. Like us, Pie believes there should be no excuses, 100% of children should know how to read and write. Their futures depend on it.
We are at the beginning of our Talk for Writing journey but have already started integrating more story-building fun in our nursery classes. We are really excited to make Pie and Julia’s approach a solid part of our foundation.