Storytelling in the Forest

Storytelling in the Forest
February 5, 2020 David Todd

Fall 2019
Posted by Victoria

We tell lots of stories in the Nature School.

Often at snack time we’ll read a book or two. Sometimes we tell Indigenous stories about the plants and animals that live around us. Other times we might read a fairy tale like Goldilocks or the Three Little Pigs.

I also make up stories to tell the children. There is a plastic owl on the Forestry Trail that was originally placed there to house a geocache, and on many days it has a message or a story for the children. Sometimes I will work hard to prepare the owl’s story in advance. Other times it’s made up on the fly. Often the stories are about a band of small adventurers exploring the trails of Kortright.

Through storytelling, children learn about sequencing — that one thing leads to another. They learn new vocabulary, and they learn to identify with the characters in a story.

Nature School students take story walk at Kortright Centre

Storytelling is a little bit magical too. When I’m telling a story of children who can understand the whispering wind, there may be a moment when the kids suddenly fall silent and listen for the wind too.

The stories I make up bind our little group and build community. Sometimes the story is about something we’ve experienced together — a shared memory — and sometimes it’s pure fantasy. All the stories reflect the values of Nature School.

The children tell stories too. Through their own stories, they can confront their emotions in a way that is safe for them.

I’ve taken to writing down their stories and making little books which can be read and shared with others. I also try to write a caption or story (as told to me by the artist) on the children’s art work. And through imagination and role play, the children act out the stories they’ve created together.

Storytelling is how we learn about ourselves, our friends, and the world around us. Stories can teach us universal truths and take us to faraway places where impossible things can happen. Stories are meant to be shared — and that’s what we do at the Nature School.