Recently Yann took a quick trip off island for a friend’s birthday celebration. For the few days that he was away, I changed up the dinner routine some, and had a chance to have my own meal with Coralie, rather than waiting for him get home from work. Although I normally engage with her during her early evening supper, I’m usually multitasking in the kitchen cleaning up and packing lunches for the next day, etc. So it was a lovely excuse to have a proper sitdown dinner with my favorite little girl, especially now that she has become such a conversationalist.
Without really thinking about it, I found myself telling little stories about my day or the meal prepared, slowly starting to feel my inner teacher voice coming out as my description of things became more elaborate. I had completely forgotten about the idea of telling ‘true stories’, which was a component to our language curriculum in Primary training. I had often implemented this practice in the classroom, my most memorable tales being about my dog Mango that I briefly adopted when first moving to Tortola. Telling a true story is simply that – relating a completely factual tale to young children, lightly modeling traditional story telling with a beginning, middle, and an end. My stories to Coralie are often about the children I work with in the elementary classroom, a detailed account of the walk I usual take on my break, or my most manipulative tale regarding her dinner for the night. I find that if I sit that badgering her endlessly to eat this and that, our dinner becomes quite a negative affair. But instead when I neutrally chat about how the meal was created (even better when she’s helped!), or about where the food has come from she happily finishes her supper.
Now that I am more exposed to older children in the elementary classroom, I know that this eager little listener clinging to my every word will one day be a thing of the past. So I’ll keep at my story telling while I have her complete and undivided attention.