In 2011, when I finally made the effort to seek out and meet Bev Bos. One of the many things she told me to grab a pen and some paper and to ask the children.... "How does your story start?" Bev was very specific, Do not ask children IF they have a story.... Simply ask, "How does your story start?" and be ready to write.....
G. age 4-
"I saw the car looks like ours, but our purple car is SO BIG, but our car is purple and I saw Alex's van. I went to work with daddy and I saw a truck and a taxi. I saw the truck and I saw the police and I saw the snow plow. I saw a fire hat and the police and a pilot and a doctor and he was so mad he looked like a tiger and he was SO BIG, but I wanna be so big like my mom. Levin is my friend but Billy is my cousin. I love Grace and I shot it and is trying to get me all the time and Charlotte is a caterpillar and looks like a tiger and he's trying to get me and I saw hats outside and just went home all of the time and he is trying to get me all of the time and he is trying to get me and those are snowflakes and Delainey is my friend too and he is trying to get me."
D. age 4-
"My story is about me and all the cars and the taxi is blocking the way and all of the cars are going really fast. It was a bright day first and the great day was really hard and I went for a walk all by myself and my mom's taxi came and she was waving to me. My ring was up and then it was a really bright day and the sun was right next to me and then I burned myself and my skin got all burned up and I turned into a skeleton. That's it."
L. age 4 -
"A tree was falling down and a person was right below it and the tree was falling down (sound effects) It was in a dark scary woods. This woods was really scary. I was with my mom with Kathryn and Sally and then a monster came out and started to run at us and then another tree fell, fell, fell (sound effects). The monster was dead."
E. age 2-
"Jingle bell uhm milk. I want some milk some more uhm I am a stinker, stinker butt uhm cookie I want muffins. Momma called I want Evie and Ellie. I want Ellie. I want my baby. Ellie, Evie, uhm Ellie. my Evie.
L. age 4-
"One strange sound and I saw eyes peeking out a tree the eyes were so giant and something giant came after me. then the big arms and big hands reached out after me. That's all."
G. age 3-
"I found a deer one night and a bear didn't come though. Nope, that's it."
A. age 3-
"One of my favorite I wanna see it. Momma pick me up and dadda can come get Oliver and mom can nurse Oliver and Oliver can go all by himself and I can go all by myself."
C. age 3-
"My car bumped into a piece of ice in my backyard and it falled BOOOM! that's silly and my sled broke all the way to the basement and my mom and dad stuck in the tree and it was 2 and was pulling right by mom and the branch and the leaves. Then my ball crashed all the way down into my door and my pants fell into my drawer and all the way into my sink the ball crashed. This is it not. (giggles)
As you can see- I write things down exactly as they are said. Let me tell you, sometimes it is really hard to keep up with the exuberant story tellers. Just do the best you can. Then, take a moment to read back what you have written and ask the child to help you fix what you may have forgotten or misquoted. When they stop, you can ask if there is anything else... Some days your hand will feel like it is ready to fall off from writing- and then you will write some more!
The children absolutely love to have you write their stories down. Not only does it help them to understand that what they have to say is important. It also shows that words and ideas can be written down to be communicated to others, it shows in a real way that words have significance and meaning. Writing helps us to remember things that are important to us. It is real, it is meaningful language and literacy in action! Children will also be quick to follow your model-- and will spend time writing down their own stories as well.....
After prompting a few times with "How does your story start?" you will probably find that the children will come running to you saying: "I have a story" or "Write this down!"
Now, let me tell you a little bit more about meeting Bev Bos, and how this story started.....
I'm one of those early childhood professionals who spent some time living in my own little world. You see, when you work with young children, especially in your home. That is easy to do. We (home based child care providers) work long hours with young children, often by ourselves or maybe with one or two other adults. It is easy to drift into our own little world- and do what we do best. With the growth in social media and the availability to share information, to network, and find like minded colleagues, it is a little less secluded than it once was...
After running my home based program for quite a few years, someone remarked, "You know, you are an awful lot like Bev Bos." I think I kind of shrugged it off the first time it happened, but after hearing it a couple of times, I thought- well, I guess I aught to figure out exactly who this Bev Bos is!!!!! I did a little bit of research and watched a few videos. (This one here is my favorite... well worth the time to watch).
In 2011, I finally made the trip. It was a 6 hour drive to see Bev speak in one of the suburbs of Chicago. The day was worth every minute of travel! I didn't find myself learning or coming back with a ton of new ideas. I did have a few, but what was far more valuable to me was the validation. You see, there are so many times where the pressure is there to do things that I know in my heart are not what is best for young children. There is so much pressure to conform and to allow the push down of curricula and to place unrealistic expectations upon young children. Sometimes it is hard to do what is right-- and it seems like it is getting harder and harder to swim against the ever growing stream of developmentally inappropriate practices out there. The day was amazing, I left so energized and so ready to take on the world.....
On Monday, when I returned to my crew. I did just what Bev told us to do... and I put out the glass jars with oil and water, and I put out some table salt..... just like Bev said to do..... (You can read more about it by clicking here....)
I also made sure to grab a pencil and some paper so that I could start recording the children's stories.
On a side note, as my story continued... In 2014, I finally made my way to Roseville to attend the Good Stuff for Kids conference spending some more time finding "my tribe" and connecting with like minded souls!
Now--- Do you collect children's stories?????
How Does Your Story Start?