As long as there have been people, there have been stories. From the stories told through art in all forms to the bedtime stories told to young children, stories make up our history and guide our future. You are surrounded by stories every day. The lessons teachers give in school are often stories. Songs tell stories. Pictures tell stories. Movies tell stories. When you tell a friend about something that happened to you, you are telling a story. Some stories have lasted hundreds and even thousands of years and are still being told. Stories began with the oral tradition, they were passed on by being heard and retold. Later, people began to write the stories down, but we still love to hear stories told out loud. Stories are powerful. They can teach morals —the values that the author of the story thinks people should live by. They can teach history. They can entertain us. They can make us laugh. They can make us cry. Telling stories is a large part of what makes people connected to each other. Stories are a part of every culture.
On 5th July 2017 the ChildrenLiteratureFestival team Punjab comprising of NidaAlam (the story teller) and Mr. InamIllahi who is the Art and Calligraphy Specialist conducted a story telling and Origami session in one of the LSK (Life Skills for Kids) School in NiazBeg, Lahore where children who were working as rag pickers have been enrolled for quality education opportunities. The duration of the session was 2 hours. Where the students’age ranged from six (6) to twelve (12) years. The book which was chosen was “BhooliBisri Sunni Sunai”written by Rumana Husain and published by CLF-OUP. It has different folklore long forgotten stories. The storyteller asked the children to pick one and they chose “Julahay Ki ChukChuk”.
“The weaver and the Priest which is a story translated from English from the book folk tales of the upper Indus written by Rev. Charles Swynnerton which was published in 1982. This has been translated & republished in a collaboration between Children’s Literature Festival and Oxford University press.
The highlight of the story shows the simple nature of the protagonist who at the time of dinner did not complete his meal and starts feeling hungry later on. His friend who helps him down a chimney so he can curb his hunger. The protagonist gets in trouble by getting his head stuck in a big jar out of greed and starts a commotion. A simple folklore tale of friendship written in a way that keeps the audience engaged with humor and defines a moral in the same.
The students were really excited that they are going to hear a story. In order to engage the students the reader used different voice tones, expressions and hand gestures. In the middle of the story the storyteller asked the students what do they think will happen next in the story? This technique proved beneficial as the students started taking more interest. Through their imagination they started suggesting how the story should progress. At the end we asked different questions related to the story in order to see whether the students were attentive. For example what is the moral of the story? Who is their favourite character and what they think was the most interesting part of the story? Etc.
After the completion of the story the students were taught how to make origami which was related to the story as well. Origami is a Japanese art of folding paper/paper crafting in decorative shapes and figures. Mr. InamIllahi conducted this part of the session. The students were given colorful papers. Then step by step Mr. Inam told them how to make a bird and a tree. The students followed the instructions throughout and were really amazed at the end result that with just one piece of paper they were able to make a bird and a tree. At the session’s completion we asked the students and teachers how was their experience? They replied in unison
“We enjoyed it”and one of the teacher said
“It is a very interesting technique to teach children in a fun way”
The session was observed by the teachers of class 1 and prep, so that they understand the process of conducting such sessions and the importance of alternate teaching methodologies. The teachers attending were Miss Maida Fatima and Miss ShaguftaFirdous.
Overall storytelling with paper crafting was a fantastic experience for the CLF team as well as for the students and teachers.