Storytelling can be a powerful way of communicating with children. This week I shared a story with the afternoon children about one of our persona dolls, Rose. For those of you who don’t know we have two persona dolls, Nick and Rose. They are different from other dolls and stuffed animals we have in the classroom because they are not used for general or dramatic play. As the baby dolls and in the loft and the little stuffed kittens have constantly changing story lines and personalities, Rose and Nick have specific story lines. They are members of our classroom and are meant to be treated with the same respect and care as you would any member of the class. Children are not invited to play with them, but sometimes they come to circle time if they have a story to share or need help solving a problem. They are often used for exploring anti-bias topics.
Today, Rose came to circle to do both of these things. Here is our conversation with Rose at our circle…
NS: We have a special person at our circle today and her name is Rose. Sometimes Rose comes to our circles because Rose is in preschool too and sometimes she comes to circle time because she has a story to tell us or a question for you or she needs help with something. Today Rose has a story to tell you and she needs help with something. Do you think you might be able to help Rose?
ST: I can!
Multiple kids: I can!
NS: Great, sounds like a lot of us are willing to help Rose
ST: What problem?
NS: Yeah, Rose is going to tell you a story about her problem but first she wants to give everyone a high five because she’s pretty happy to be here, so she will come around the circle and give you a high five if you want.
NS: So this is the story that Rose wanted me to tell you all. Yesterday after school Rose had a play date with her friend Anne and Rose was at Anne’s house and they were playing… Ninjas. They were running around so much they were getting really tired and Rose thought ‘I’m getting pretty hungry’, so she asked Anne if she had any food that they could have for a snack. And Anne thought about it, and Rose and Anne opened up the fridge at Anne’s house and there was a little bit of food in the fridge. Rose only saw milk and bread. She was wondering why there was only milk and bread at Anne’s house, so she said “Anne, do you only have milk and bread at your house?”, and Anne said “Yeah, we don’t have a lot of money right now to buy food for our house so this is what we have right now. So they shut the fridge and they kept playing ninjas and they didn’t have a snack at Anne’s house. And then Rose was really thinking about this a lot. How do you think Rose was feeling about what happened at Anne’s house? Rose was thinking about how she has a lot of food at home for her family but Anne’s family didn’t have a lot of food from the store. So she was really thinking about this. Does anyone know how Rose was feeling about this?
SH: Like, kinda sad, she didn’t want to eat bread
LG: I do! I think she was feeling really sad
NS: Sad because she knew that her friend didn’t have a lot of food to eat?
NS: So she was thinking about this and while she was walking home that day she looked inside of a window. She noticed this big building and it didn’t really look like a house, but there were a lot of people inside and she wondered what everyone was doing in there. So she looked in the window and she saw all these people sitting at big tables and they were laughing and talking and eating food all together. And Rose thought, ‘hmm, this doesn’t look like a house, but there is a kitchen and all of these people are eating together kind of like a family but that would be a really really big family because there were so many people in there.’ So she was wondering about this place and she went inside and she took some pictures of what she saw. Do you want to see the pictures?
NS: When she went inside she asked some people inside if it was okay if she took some pictures because she thought maybe this is a place that might help my friend Anne because everyone here is eating food together and maybe Anne could come here and eat food too with her family, so she took some pictures so she could show Anne this place. This is the picture of the outside *shows picture* it had a sign and it said “Sisters of the Road Cafe”, oh it’s a kind of cafe! And so then she took some pictures of the people inside. They were sitting around a lot of tables eating together *shows pictures*.
ST: How did she walk inside?
NS: Well, she just opened the door!
NS: People looked like they were really happy to be together and to have good food together. And so, Rose started talking to some people inside of the place called Sisters of the Road Cafe, and she asked them what they were doing there. They told her that this was a kind of place that people could go to if they didn’t have enough food in their houses or if they don’t have a kitchen or a house to cook things in then they can go to a place like this to get food to eat. And it kind of looked like they were a big family because they were so happy to be together but they were just people that came. So Rose started thinking that maybe she could tell Anne about this. I’m wondering if anyone thinks this place might help Rose’s friend? Or does anyone have an idea of what Rose can do to help her friend?
LG: I do!
ST: We go to the grocery store, right?
LG: I think she could go to the grocery store
SH: And get some food for them?
NS: Bring food to her friend?
SH: Because they don’t have enough money
NS: And Rose lives close to a grocery store. Rose told me that her friend lives far from the grocery store so it’s really hard for them to get to the grocery store because they don’t have a car. Rose’s family has a car. So is that something she could do to help? Any other ideas?
ST: Bring the groceries to her house
SH: I think that she could go to the store and bring all of her bags. She could get so much food, put them all in her bags, and bring them to Anne’s house.
NS: Rose really likes those ideas and she is remembering them. She has another idea and she wants to ask you all if you think that this is a good idea for her to share with her friend. So when Rose was at this cafe she saw a sign in the window! She asked if she could take it because she thought it was something that could help her friend. I’m going to read it to you if you want to know what it says.
Everyone: I do!
NS: *Holds up sign* so she took this sign because she noticed that it said “Free Food and Music. Community Dinner.” And it’s happening on January 13th and it’s at this place called Sisters of the Road. And it says that everyone is welcome! Do you think that Anne could go have dinner at this cafe?
NS: So Rose is wondering if you think she should tell Anne’s family about this dinner so they could go?
LW: I think that Rose could maybe buy a sweater and put it on Anne
NS: Yeah I’m not sure about if Anne needs a sweater or not but that is a nice idea
SH: Umm, is this a real story that she did all of this?
NS: Well, the dolls help us tell stories about certain things. This doll in real real real life, this doll that I am touching, did not walk down the street. But we are kind of pretending so that we can learn about something. This cafe is a real place in Portland. So the story is kind of real and pretend together. I am going to go in a circle and ask everyone if it’s a good idea for Rose to tell Anne about this dinner. *Goes around circle and everyone says yes*.
NS: Now Rose has another question for you. Rose wants to help make some food to give to the dinner! Because Rose has a lot of food in her house and she thinks she can do some cooking and give some food to the dinner so that Anne and her family and other families can eat it.
SH: I had another idea. She could bring some of her food to her friends.
NS: Yeah, but here’s the thing, Rose can’t make all of this food by herself, so she wanted to ask if you could help her make some food?
LG: I can!
SH: I can!
ST: I can!
HE: I can!
NS: Not today, but in a few days Rose is going to come back and have you help with cooking.
NS: I am going to tell you one more word. We are making food to ‘donate’ has anyone ever heard this word before?
Everyone: donate, donate, donate, donate
NS: I want to tell you about this word ‘donate’ because you have even done this before this year.
SH: I know it!
NS: SH, can you tell us what it means?
SH: It means… Umm… I kind of don’t know how to explain it. It’s just a little hard.
NS: Ok would you like me to explain it?
SH: Donate means that you’re sending food to another person
NS: Yeah, not even just food. Donate means to give something away to someone who needs it.
LG: I love donuts!
NS: We had a bake sale this year. Did we donate something?
SH: Cookies, we donated cookies
NS: We sold cookies, but we donated money because that is what we sent to people who needed it. If you maybe bring your clothes to a store and they sell them at the store then that is donating your clothes. What are we going to donate with Rose?
NS: Yes, because we are giving food to people who need it. That’s a new word that you can think about for next week when we do the cooking! Does anyone have any other questions about Rose’s story?
LG: I do!
NS: Is it a real question?
LG: It sure is. If Rose got her friend some cottage cheese from the grocery store her friend would really like it.
NS: Is that something that you really like to eat?
NS: Ok Rose will remember that
EP: Are we gonna cook for real?
NS: Yeah! So this story might be a little bit confusing because like I said, some things are real and some things are pretend. But we are going to cook for real because this sign that I showed you about the dinner, that’s actually a real thing that is happening and we are really going to cook and really going to donate food.
ST: But she can’t cook in the kitchen
NS: Right, so that’s why we are going to help
SH: I also had an idea. We can donate some black bean brownies. And we can donate some… I also thought cookies.
NS: Yeah Rose was thinking cookies too
NS: Ok Rose wants to say thank you for helping her figure something out that she wasn’t sure about. She also wants to say thank you for letting her come to circle and for listening to her story. If you want to give her a high five she is going to come around and give high fives again to say goodbye.
AG: You know what else is cool about us donating to Sisters of the Road Cafe? If we donate just to Anne’s family we are feeding a few people and that’s really good, but if donate to Sisters of the Road we are feeding lots and lots of people. Would you rather help a couple people or lots of people.
**More to come**