Monday, August 31, 2009

An autumn story

‘Out of observation of a simple tabletop puppet show, rich impulses
can grow for the child’s own play'. Bronja Zahlingen, A Lifetime of Joy

Telling stories with 'puppets' is a wonderful part of the Waldorf/Steiner curriculum. The beautiful felted standing puppets really are a work of art. If you have never seen one, they often will perform a 'puppet show' at Waldorf school fairs - and it really is something special. With my black thumb, my one attempt at making a puppet is still languishing in the back of a drawer ... and in the meantime I improvise with some wooden figures.

I know a lot of you in the Northern Hemisphere are planning for 'fall' and I thought you might like this 'fall' story. Its the sort of very simple story that is suitable for younger pre-schoolers who are just not ready for fairy tales yet (even the simplest fairy tales are really best left until children are at least 4)

I am not sure where it orginates from but our last playgroup teacher, who was a really gifted storyteller, sent me a copy.

There was a beautiful meadow.
In that meadow there was a house.
In the house there lived a family.
There was a Mother, a Father and a little boy.
The family also had a good cow that gave them milk to drink and a sheep that gave them wool to make warm clothes for the winter.

One day the little boy ran out to play in the meadow. It was autumn and the leaves on the trees had turned to lovely shades of red, brown, orange and gold. The little boy walked into the forest singing an autumn song:
“Red and yellow, golden and brown, leaves of autumn come tumbling down”

Suddenly the little boy heard a sound behind a nearby tree. He crept quietly towards the sound to take a look. He saw a little red squirrel, busy collecting nuts to store in his home for the winter. The little boy decided to help the squirrel, and spent the afternoon searching for nuts and bringing them to the squirrel’s tree. By the end of the day the squirrel’s home was full of nuts, enough to last him and his family all winter! It was time to go home.

The little boy waved goodbye to the squirrel and began the walk back home. On his way he sang a song about his friend the squirrel:
“Squirrel Nutkin with your coat so brown, quite the loveliest in woodland town.
Two black eyes look out to see, where the sweetest nuts can be.”

When he got home he told his mother and father all about his woodland adventure.

Now, we don't have a cow puppet, but we do have an apple tree as you will see in the photo, so I change the story to say 'they had an apple tree full of crisp, juicy apples to eat, and a sheep who gave them wool ...'

Of course, here in New Zealand we don't actually have squirrels, or any animals that collect nuts for the winter that I know of. Minor detail ...


Annicles said...

My eldest girl is nine and really loves the look of these Waldorf nature tables - are they intended for older children too? Is anything added or changed to make them more appropriate? I am all for having such a table in our house, it's getting it right for my children who span the ages of 4-9!

I would really apprieciate any help!

Gypsy said...

Yes, nature tables are definately for older children too - the older children are usually more into making stuff for the table - like using modelling beeswax and felting stuff, knitting etc. Let me find you some links and get back to you!

Annicles said...

Thank you. I am moving everthing at home around so a nature table could find a lovely home somewhere!! I love the idea of making things together for it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that story. I'm going to print it off and try for my preschooler.

beth said...

Hi. I've just come across your blog and it's wonderful! Can't wait till I have a bit more time to have a good read. I'm Beth and from Wellington, and have two girls, 5 and 3 months.

Anonymous said...

Lovely story! We tell a similar spring time one, with the boy singing a springtime song, flowers coming out and helping a bird collect nesting materials, but in essence the same bones/structure
I love that the picture of the table scene has waldorf style wooden figures, and a plastic? sheep... It gives us all a little permission to play around with what we have and enjoy what we can create without getting too hung up by it not being "right".
Thanks again for the inspiration, I am really enjoying your posts.

Melissa said...

Thanks for posting this story. I can definitely use it with my 3 year old! We have LOTS of squirrels around these parts :o)

Heart Felt said...

Charlie thought he saw a squirrel in an oak tree one day ~ didn't quite understand that we don't have squirrels in NZ....wish we did. xx

Annicles said...

Thank you for challenging me over homework (on my blog). I found the Alphie Kohn website and read as much as I could take in in one go! I am going to have a hard time with my children's school because they are guilty of setting homework in exactly the way Kohn says is mindless and harmful. I think I am going to be far more prepared to fight against them doing the work if it is wrong for them on any given evening! Lots to think about. Thank you!

Kate said...

Oh, that is one of our favorite fall stories! We heard a similar version from a Waldorf homeschool teacher here in Michigan...ah, makes me excited for the coming days!

Amy said...

I liked the story. It is so simple and yet so delightful. Can't wait to share it with my daughter.

Gypsy said...

artemismoon I love the idea of having a bird making a nest rather than a squirrel - for those of us that are squirrel-less! Thanks everyone for your comments. Annicles - glad that you found the Alfie Kohn stuff interesting!

Farmama said...

I like your blog! We are a waldorf inspired homeschooling family. I love the nature table. I look forward to stopping by again,

gardenmama said...

You share such beauty in this space Gypsy, thank you for writing out this sweet story : ) My children would love to hear this!