So, why do we at Waldorf not only read but teach fairy tales to our early grade schoolers? This fabulous article on ImaginationSoup.net perfectly encapsulates the importance of reading fairy tales to children.
Here are summarized article highlights after the click.
1. Fairy Tales Show Kids How to Handle Problems
Characters in stories help us because we connect them to our own lives, dreams, anxieties, and consider what we would do in their shoes. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
2. Fairy Tales Build Emotional Resiliency
Children need to discover in a safe environment that bad things happen to everyone.
3. Fairy Tales Give Us a Common Language
Neil Gaiman writes, “We encounter fairy tales as kids, in retellings or panto. We breathe them. We know how they go.”
4. Fairy Tales Cross Cultural Boundaries
Many cultures share common fairy tales like Cinderella, with their own cultural flavor. We read the versions and know we all share something important, the need to make sense of life with story, and the hope for good to triumph over evil.
5. Fairy Tales Teach Story
Such as setting, characters, and plot (rising action, climax, and resolution) as well as the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
6. Fairy Tales Develop a Child’s Imagination
“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” ― Albert Einstein
7. Fairy Tales Give Parents Opportunities to Teach Critical Thinking Skills
Even though some fairy tales show bad examples (Disney’s The Little Mermaid [the original version shows a weak woman who dies for the man]), kids can benefit from exposure and guided conversation to encourage critical thinking.
8. Fairy Tales Teach Lessons
Many fairy tales to teach morals and lessons. Will Goldilocks break into a house again? Probably not.
Do you read your children fairy tales?