I went for a walk and was musing on the possibilities of various plants that I could take with me for a one day relieving opportunity. Building houses with strips of gum bark found yesterday while lying under the trees’ leafy shade, and then huge dried karaka leaves. Looking at different leaves and possible ways to use them. My focus shifted to the fact that they have ERO visiting and want me to incorporate maths into my mattimes and impress the inspectors.
Then thinking of the geometrical shapes of houses… teepees, yurts, castles, mansions, caves and so on. And the language for the shapes and started thinking about all the different shapes, and then textures, and then sizes of leaves. Curved, pointed, round, triangular, square, thin, wide, large and small, wrinkly, shiny…. so many wonderful descriptive adjectives. Another inadvertent language outcome.
It became obvious that just talking about shapes would be a whole lot less engaging than if I could weave the geometry and attributes of the different leaves into a story.I picked some and as I walked home a story evolved! And here it is: The squabble of the leaves….
I was also thinking about some key qualities that good children’s stories often have… repetition, rhythm, rhyme, including experiences, events, objects that are meaningful to the children/child, giving space for memory and imagination,using voice and gesture. And through the process of walking and dreaming and considering, I came up with a story. I wondered about the 100 day challenge and whether I should give myself that discipline so that I get better at it!
So this might be a story for a group of children who are very competitive and lack a sense of community. One could tell it more than once and one could also do the same thing with flowers… some have scent, some have medicinal qualiities and some have longlasting qualities, others have colour for dying fabric, and others become vegetables. Many varied virtues… each different, each valid. A simple message, a powerful message!
Here is a wonderful imaginative story somebody wrote about the evolutionary adaptation of the pitcher plant, complete with repetitive refrain!