Pillars, Principles, and Intentions

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your visions. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” –Neil Gaiman, author

Story Workshop is a classroom structure we are developing at Opal School to support language and literacy. It has evolved over the past decade as we’ve researched the question: What is the connection between literacy and the arts?

We are finding that materials (such as clay, paint, drama, or blocks) can play an integral role in language development and strongly support children to see themselves as storytellers and authors.

This happens, for example, when a child is playing at the water table and imagines or remembers a story. As the child continues to play and explore his story, he may consider more details, the sequence may become stronger, and the language the child uses to tell the story becomes more clear and powerful.

The stories come alive – and we are finding that stories bring a community together.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll work together to understand how Story Workshop has developed at Opal School to make meaning of this structure within each of our unique settings and contexts. The intention of our first two weeks together is to provide an overview of Story Workshop while considering the pillars, principles, and intentions that guide our practice.

Module 1 will include five topics and one invitation:

Writer’s Workshop: A Foundation of Story Workshop

-The Role of the Arts

-The Role of Play

-The Power of Stories

-The Role of the Teacher in Story Workshop

-Invitation: Observations of Play

Each topic will have reflection questions to consider and I’d like to encourage you to grab a notebook and give yourself time to write your reflections as you explore the content in this Module. You’ll also have an opportunity to begin grappling with these ideas by observing children at play and sharing those observations. Hopefully this will lay a groundwork as you begin to set your own intentions for Story Workshop in your own context before heading into the new school year.


Course Discussion