Storytelling cultures in early years classrooms

Faulkner, Dorothy (2014). Storytelling cultures in early years classrooms. He Kupu, 3(5) pp. 80–91.



The analysis presented in this article draws on Rogoff’s (2003) work on intent participation and Dyson’s (2001, 2010) studies of children’s written compositions to identify the nature of peers’ contributions to meaning making, and cultural transmission processes claimed to occur when young children narrate stories to supportive adults. It draws on data collected during an evaluation of an in-service training programme that introduced UK-based early years practitioners to a version of Paley’s (1990) storytelling and story acting curriculum known as the Helicopter Technique (HT). The HT draws on theatre practice and drama to foster narrative development and literacy skills. Children tell a story to a practitioner trained to scribe this exactly as told and who assists them to identify story characters that can be acted out later with peers. The significance of adults’ contributions to these sessions is well understood, but less is known about the contribution of peers who may also be present. The evidence presented suggests that these peer-to-peer processes can be described as two-way transactions between more and less confident language users and may be particularly important for children with English as an Additional Language (EAL). Implications of these findings for practitioners supporting second language learners are discussed.

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