I have yet to see the movie Tangled but I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to go soon. Originally, fairy tales were not just for kids, but were a form of entertainment for adults. The stories formed part of the oral story-telling for generations and have been used for all kinds of research projects. This month, though, I’ve been highlighting how fairy tales can be used to promote kindergarten readiness.
Rapunzel has meaning for both children and grown-ups. All of us have a comfort-zone, symbolized by the tower. When we venture beyond the walls, we sometimes find ourselves in a scary place, like Rapunzel in the desert. But the situation also brings change and growth.
While working on Rapunzel, I saw how this especially relates to kindergarten. Children move beyond the safety and security of home to the scary place of kindergarten. School has new challenges but expands the child’s world. Having adventures sometimes takes courage. Kindergarten is a new adventure for both kids and their parents and caregivers. A bad-hair day takes on new meaning. What are your concerns about the kindergarten adventure?
(For more fun, read and talk about different versions of Rapunzel. This book is by Christianne C. Jones but there are many, many more. )
I have been showcasing one fairy tale and looking at how it can be used as a teaching/learning activity for kindergarten readiness for little ones. Sleeping Beauty seems to be another story of a helpless female, needing to be rescued and wakened by a prince. If that’s all it is, it needs to disappear into the ages, but below the surface there is much more.
The long sleep can be compared to the long stage of growing up. Children need time to mature so they are ready for the next stage of life. Sleep itself is part of our lives because this is when we heal and physically grow. We all need quiet retreats from time to time to think and plan, reflect and dream.We are not just preparing kids for kindergarten or school. These old traditional stories can help us share values along with kindergarten readiness activities.
I also like to use this story to talk about time. With your child, think of all the words for time such as minute, hour, day, etc. Ask which is longer, a minute or an hour? Which is shorter a day or a week? Talk about the days of the week. Do you have a favorite day? (Fryday, Sundae?) Go for a walk inside the house and count up all the things that tell time. How many did you count?
To finish off the month of March, I’d like to include a few last fairy tales. Parents of young children often ask me if there is any value to reading old, traditional fairy tales. They are full of stereotypes and hidden messages. While these are valid concerns, fairy tales do have merit.
The magical story of Pinocchio enchants us all. As with other fairy tales earlier this month, there is an underlying layer of symbolism. Pinocchio, as a puppet, is controlled by others. Kids feel like they are controlled by all the adults in their lives, too. Nevertheless, Pinocchio does grow up, making mistakes and learning along the way. Pinocchio also has to face the adventure of going to school, just like they do. This is an encouraging example for kids, even if they do not understand the symbolism. As adults, we too, sometimes dance on strings–impatience, desire, jealousy, etc. All of us need to learn to control ourselves rather than be controlled by ‘strings’. Pinocchio is a life lesson as well as a fairy tale.
Making puppets is a fun kindergarten readiness project and includes all kinds of learning: planning, creating, talking together, pretending, imagining, interacting, to name a few. Socks are easiest to use, or paper sandwich bags. Open up the odds and bits box and add some features. Talk with your child about what kind of puppet to create: an animal, a people, an alien, a letter, a number, a food? Ask your child what the puppet can do. What is its name? Does it have a friend? Model for your child some different voices, low, high, fast, sleepy, etc. You and your child can take turns being the voice of the puppet. Make 2 and have conversations with them or 1 or 2 kids can be both puppets. Is the puppet having an adventure? How about you and your little one?
On the drive to work today, with this being the last Discovery Space Shuttle voyage, I heard the neatest interview with an astronaut! It was so cool I rushed into the school and down the hall to my class bypassing the staff room and my first cup of tea. The radio host asked what were important … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Fairy Tales and Discovery
Disney versions of traditional fairy tales have their own spin but they keep the stories from being forgotten. Beauty and the Beast is familiar to lots of little ones. There is an obvious message that there is beauty on the outside and beauty on the inside. But there are other lessons, too. Beauty and love are … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Fairy Tale Roots
On the face of it, the lessons in Jack and the Beanstalk do not seem to be ones that we want to teach children. If we only tap into the meaning on the surface Jack goes somewhere he shouldn’t and takes something that doesn’t belong to him. But below the surface, Jack symbolizes someone confronting … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Fairy Tale Sky’s The Limit
As a young mother, one of the concerns I had with fairy tales was that they were so violent. While the 3 Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood had final endings for the wolf, it seemed like there was some justification. After all, he’d wanted to eat them. On the other hand that’s what … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Fairy Tales Magic Words
I’m reluctant to mention the word snow in case it triggers more cold, thick rain. I’m beginning to wonder if spring isn’t just a fairy tale? Snow White is another fairy tale that is unfairly dismissed because it seems to be one more example of a helpless female that is saved by a prince. The symbolism in … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Fairy Tale Math
This month the blog topic is fairy tales. Even though they are not as popular as they used to be, they still have value and a useful role for children and can be used at home and in care centers for kindergarten readiness activities. The story of Cinderella has much different meaning for kids than it … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Fairy Tales and Dreams
Patterning and sequencing are two critical strategies for learning to read and for math. The fairy tale of Goldilocks and The Three Bears uses both these skills. It’s also a good story for talking about real bears and story bears and how they are the same and how they are different. There’s several more kindergarten readiness skills, … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Fairy Tale Fun