I use a piece of silk or other fabric to set the scene; simple props and puppets are used; drawing from the playthings the children enjoy throughout the day.
I retell the same story for an entire month, which I feel is very effective.
Give it a try; do not be worried that the children will be bored (they won't!) or complain...
Retelling a story gives a child the chance to truly experience and digest the content!
This week's story was Knock, Knock by Ruth LeBar
(retell using your own details, etc,)
Once upon a time, in a forrest not far from here, lived a brown bear.
Every morning, he would rise and greet the sun outside of his comfy cave..
"I'm hungry!", Brown Bear thought!
Off he went through the glen to search for food, tramipity, trampity, trampity, tramp...
He stopped; sniffed the air..."what's that I smell?"
"Soup and bread baking?"
"And I hear children laughing! What a lovely time, I must join them!"
Off Brown Bear ran; through the glen, so excited he was!
He came to a small cottage in a clearing and bounded through the front door..
"I'm here for soup, bread, and merry making!", he said.
The children yelled and hid behind their mother. They had never seen a bear inside their home before!
Mother was a bit cross at Brown Bear.
"Brown Bear!" she said, "You have scared my children by barreling through our door without knocking...please go home."
...Brown Bear left, feeling a bit sad. He returned to his comfy cave in the forrest and went to sleep.
...I continue telling the story with the same order of events in mind; Brown Bear always awakes and greets the sun, he always trampity tramps through the glen...
The next time he hears children playing with blocks, singing "happy birthday", etc. Create your own details!
Mother's response remains the same. She gently, but firmly tells bear that he must knock, and bids him home.
On Brown Bear's final trampity tramp through the forrest, he remembers to knock at the last moment. Mother opens the door and warmly welcomes him in for tea and honey. He has remembered to knock.
This is a wonderful story about action and "consequence"; something that is a growing experience for all children. Storytelling is an invaluable tool for teachers of any age group...it provides an effective and subtle vehicle for teaching life lessons.
Shoemaker and the Elves
Three Billy Goats Gruff