Take a minute to imagine this scene in your mind. Different areas scattered around the room with inspiring materials. In one corner, brightly covered felt squares, wood pieces, gems, moss and other nature inspired loose parts are displayed on one table. Children explore each material and then choose objects that make a setting or character from their mind.
Children explore loose parts to begin imagining a story
Soft blocks, hard blocks, Legos, and colored blocks on a light table are just some of the materials offered in the construction area. Children begin to experiment with creating towers, houses, and other structures. They chat to their friends about what they are making and who might live there. With the addition of ramps and pulleys, children begin to experiment with adding actions and suddenly they sharing what is happening to the characters they are playing with in their constructions.
Ms. Angela observes one of her students playing and making their story using blocks.
As your eye scans the other corners of this room, you may see art materials such as clay, markers, paint, chalk, and watercolors at another table. Making with puppets, scarfs, fabric, and weaving in a performance area. Although the materials may vary greatly at any area and at any time of year, the sounds you will hear remain the same. The bubbling chatter of children playing and making the stories of their lives.
Children share the story that they made using materials from the performance area with the class.
StoryMaking requires a few things. First, a maker. A maker is anyone that makes something that is significant to them. Our young children are the makers in StoryMaking. Second, a space for making. A makerspace is a “place where people gather to tinker, make things, invent, create, explore, and make discoveries using a wide variety of real tools” (Heroman 2017, 5). Next, a story. Children come to us with stories that result from their unique family, history, experiences, perspective, and wonderings. Also, we need materials. Our makers use stuff (materials, tools, artifacts, items, loose parts) to make their stories. Finally, a process is required to take all the aforementioned elements and make the story. Over the span of several years, we watched children making their stories, took notes, and analyzed and categorized what they did. We discovered a process where they first used their imaginations, played, made, and shared. That’s our StoryMaker Cycle! Our young learners imagine, play, make, and share the everyday stories of their lives. They StoryMake!
We hope you follow us on this journey to explore all the possibilities StoryMaking can become to meet the needs of you and your children. We look forward to collaborating with you throughout this blog as we StoryMake with our learners.