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Children are Telling using Storycrafting Method

Projects Members Publications The Storycrafting method Seminar

Storycrafting is a method invented in Finland, which brings to the fore the skill of listening and the art of establishing a close contact. Thanks to this method, the traditional patronising, segragating and subordinating culture is being transformed, and a culture which emphasises partnership with the child is gaining ground. This is done, however, ensuring that the child receives the care and protection it needs. It brings to evidence that children produce information in many different ways and paints a picture of children's culture, especially their games.

With the Storycrafting method, children can be heard the way children want to be heard: children can choose the words, drawings, and acts they want to use to express themselves.

In Storycrafting you:

Ask the other person to narrate a story of free choice.
Write it down literally, in the same way that 
the teller expresses him/herself.
When the narrative is done, retell it,
and give the author the opportunity to make any changes.

The purpose is to make it clear to the child that the adult is specifically interested in the child's own story. The aim is to inspire the child to tell about his or her own world and thoughts. It is important to give the feeling that the children have a copyright on their work and that it is not only being used for the purposes of the adult.

The many methods of the new way to listening and sharing, the Storycrafting, emphasise the importance of giving the voice to children both in research and in practice. Storycrafting is different from storytelling; when a child or a group of children are asked to tell a story, and the adult writes it down word by word. When the story is finished, the adult reads it so that the child can edit the text if he/she wants so. With this method, thousands of stories have been already collected. This method is also useful for documenting children's play and their investigation of different phenomena.

By storycrafting, children's thoughts and action will be recorded in dialogue in encounters with the children, without evaluation. The Storycrafting method enables children to participate. You are welcome to join us to study the world through children's eyes.

The instruction of the Storycrafting method in different languages

The method suits all cultures (and subcultures) which show respect for man irrespective of the level of his or her speaking and communication skills. The point is that the child performs his or her part by creating a story (sounds, drawings, games, views) based on what are his or her own personal abilities and constraints. The story is then written down and retold by an adult who is usually from the same or similar culture. Storycrafting is a therapeutic method, which, relying on the child's strengths, helps the child enhance his or her self-esteem. The point is that children who live, for example, in the midst of a crisis, in a children's home, or similarly stressing circumstances, are asked to turn their experiences into stories which an adult listens to and which are then published. The method provides rapid firts aid in times of a war or a crisis identifying the grief of the distressed and repeating and sharing the words or outbursts of one who is suffering. Group storycrafting is used to bridge the gap when a child has to encounter new and foreing environments. Storycrafting is also a cheap and simple tool to teach a child to learn to read and write without books and a curriculum. Besides Finland, the method has been introduced to all the Nordic countries, Estonia, the United Kingdom, amoung the Palestinian refugees, etc.

The Storycrafting Method (text and video)
(publ, on net 10.11.01)

Monika Riihelä, 2001, Stakes Helsinki Finland (ISBN 951-33-1191-0)

The Storycrafting method is a Finnish invention that promotes equal possibilities for the participants in a dialog (Riihelä 1991). It is an easy but yet strict method for creating stories in solidarity, for listening, and for documentation. The method helps creating and sharing unique, novel narratives and gives the floor to the client, the other person, especially to the children. UN's declaration of Rights of the Child emphasises children's rights for participation. In order to follow this statement, one needs to examine the dialogue among children and adults in institutional settings, and issues that prevent and enhance children's participation. When the Storycrafting method was developed, the emphasis was on changing children's position in the society. With Storycrafting method, children can be heard the way children want to be heard: children can choose the words, drawings, and acts they want to use to express themselves.

In Storycrafting you ask:

Tell a story that you want.
I will write it down just as you will tell it.
When the story is ready I will read it aloud.
And then if you want you can
correct or make any changes.

The adult writes down the story on a separate piece of paper, preferably in capital letters so that the child is, as early as possible, able to read the story. It is important to write down the story exactly as the child tells it. It is easier to write down the story of a child that uses standard language than of one using slang or colloquialisms. One has to control one's own desire to change the spoken language and correct mistakes made by the child. The purpose is to make it clear to the child that the adult is specifically interested in the child's own story. The aim is to inspire the child to tell about his or her own world and thoughts. The story can be included in the group's common story file or the children can include it in their personal files. The adult can ask the child to give her a copy of the story. It is important to give the feeling that the children have a copyright on their work and that it is not only being used for the purposes of the adult.

See the video of the Storycrafting method 
(M. Riihelä, Filminova Stakes 2001 publ on web 10.11.2001)
Go to the version for fast connections (ADSL)
or the version for slow connections (ISDN)

See the video and the text of the study Playing Researchers  M. Riihelä, Filminova Stakes 2001 publ. on web 28.11.2001

How do we deal with the children's questions? Monika Riihelä. Doctoral dissertation in the University of Helsinki, department of socialpsychology. Printed in National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES), Finland, 1996. Published on internet 18.09.2003. ISBN 951-33-1068-X

Look at: CHILDES: http://childes.psy.cmu.edu/

Four children in pre-school-age are telling their Space-stories in the end of a the project

See report  --->

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