We all live in a world full of rhythms. Rhythms are of different types – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. My focus in the current post is on yearly rhythms. Festivals and Seasons and birthdays occur rhythmically, once every year. They can be great starting points for story narrations. Tell the child stories about these events that occur every year during the seasons -summer, rain, fall, and winter; festivals -Pongal, Ganesha Chaturthi, Diwali, Christmas; Children cherish stories about their own birth and homecoming.
Children feel a sense of belonging in these stories as they can see the elements of the story right in front of them and relate to them. You may start narrating seasonal stories to babies, children 1-6 years. By repeating these topics every year during the season or festival, children understand deeply about their environment and culture. For example, you can speak to a toddler about Rain in a simple way. Talk about how the raindrops falls down slowly and the ground gets wet. Observe how all the animals, birds and people who run to take shelter from the rain. This can be done by observing surrounding or supported by picture books. There are several beautiful books that discuss these everyday happenings.
Sunu Sunu Snail Storm in the Garden– Sunu-sunu the snail is playing in the garden with his friends, the ants. Suddenly there is a storm. He ‘hurries’ home to his mother and tells her all he saw and heard.
The Red Umbrella– It’s raining. What happens when seven animals have to share one small umbrella?
Little Frog is about a frog who asks his mother when it will rain. When the sky is dark with clouds, his mother replies. Every day of the week, Little Frog looks up at the sky and awaits the rain. It is also a story about days of the week, things you can see in the sky, and other creatures
Raindrops: From her window, little Anju sees familiar scenes of a rainy day – cloudy skies, umbrellas, puddles…
Let’s Catch the Rain: The author plays with big monsoon clouds and the message is simple: rainwater is free, pure and precious, Let us save it.
If you are narrating to a 4+, you may add new Vocabulary and further details about how the clouds are formed with water and once the two clouds bump into each other, it rains. You can also talk about the magical rainbows.
You can connect the season with the festivals celebrated in that season and their significance. In this way, we connect the season with the celebrations associated with it. We can build seasonal stories as they grow. I have some lovely storybooks on Festival- Amma Tell Me Books
Grandparents and parents have their own version of stories related to the birth of Krishna, how he ate the sand, how he lifted the Govardhan hill with his fingertip. Children love to see all the preparations that take place during festivals. Children of the Christian faith and Muslim faith love to see the rituals and preparations that are marked by Christmas or Eid respectively.
I have had the pleasure of seeing children bring these stories alive into their pretend play. This indicates the child is absorbing the stories and need not be questioned. I advise parents to watch and enjoy, but not interrupt to correct them. Observe children deepen their understanding in their play, conversations, and gestures. We may only awaken the little souls from the dreamy state by questioning their intellect.
Rhythms are integral to life and by narrating stories of rhythm and helping children observe them in their daily lives, we are imparting an important lesson gently. Children respond to this soothing cycles of rhythm by seeking their own and building their center of calm and quietude.