Narrative Play and Emergent Literacy: Storytelling and Story-Acting Meet Journal Writing
Debates about early childhood curricula tend to pit teacher-centered and skill-oriented approaches against child-centered or play-oriented approaches. Increasingly, only lip service is paid to the significance and value of play for young children. Years of developmental research have demonstrated that young children have different interests, cognitive styles, and ways of grasping the world from adults, with important implications for their modes of learning. Thus, we should not be quick to fill up preschool classrooms exclusively with adult-centered skill-based activities that may be foreign to a child's perspective. We need to balance these didactic skill-based activities with more child-centered activities within the preschool curriculum. This chapter shows how teacher-directed and skill-oriented activities themselves can become even more engaging, meaningful, and valuable for children when they are linked to child-centered and play-oriented activities. It advocates a genuine integration between didactic and child-centered approaches in ways that allow them to complement and support each other, focusing on the role of narrative play in emergent literacy and combining storytelling and story-acting with journal writing.
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