Opal School closed in 2021. You can continue to access these resources for free at teachingpreschoolpartners.org/resource-library/.

We are Our Stories

We are Our Stories

We bring our schemas through the classroom door every day.  What we know, what we have experienced and who we are is always present as we manipulate our environment and different materials.  Story Workshop supports the understanding that we bring different things with us to create meaning and our understanding for the world is made in a variety ways. 

For example, a child may enter the classroom excited to tell a story from the weekend.  What material would work best for his story?  What material would help him tell his story, and in turn help us, as his community, get to know him better?

As R. entered school back from Spring Break, he was bursting out of the seams to tell his sneak peek.  He wanted his whole community to know the experience he had on his break and all the adventures that went along with it.  We wondered with R. what would be the best language to tell his story?  What material would best capture his experience?  He chose to capture his story with tempera paint.


"I went fishing.  I was the only one to catch a fish.  It was a rainbow trout. "

After he finished his painting, we then wondered together if he wanted to tell his story in another way.  Would a new material wake up any more details?  Would a new material help him to get to know his story better?  R. then entered the Big Blocks (along with a friend who also had a fishing-type story) to get to know his story better through a different material. 


As he built and played, more details about his adventure woke up in his mind.  Here is his new story.

When I casted out three minute later I caught a fish and I didn't know my bobble was down and I looked for it and then Clint said, "Reel in" and he reeled in for me.  Sawyer said, "Is it a keeper?"  Clint said, "Well, yeah, it is a keeper."  It felt good.  We went back to the house and we cut the fishes tail off an head off.  The next morning we ate fish eggs for breakfast.

When he was able to explore his story in another material, details from his adventure were uncovered.  He was able to "wake up" more of the story!  He was also able to make the story more interesting for his audience by adding dialogue, expressing his feelings and telling more about what happened before, during and after he caught the fish.  These extra details create more meaning and understanding for the audience, as well as for R himself!

In Story Workshop, R. was able to try different languages and materials in order to find the one that could tell the story he wanted everyone to know.  Every day, the children in the Early Kindergarten get a chance to play, work and experiment with many different types of materials that will help them develop a relationship with their story as well as form connections to others through collaboration and sharing.