Sharing one’s experiences, ideas and emotions with another person through a story is one of the basic human tendencies. In Bruner’s words: »People are storytellers, both adults and children develop and learn the language to tell stories that are inside us.« Stories give meaning to our past and present, arrange our thoughts and emotions. The chaos of imagination is tamed into a story with a beginning and an ending, which can be comprehensibly shared with others.
The Fairytale Studio grew from the belief that children can be very creative storytellers and that it is very important that adults – teachers, parents and grandparents – recognise this potential and actively support it. As proven by several researchers, encouraging storytelling in children has long-term positive consequences for the development of child’s speech and later literacy, reading culture and thus general (educational) achievement of schoolchildren.
Thus the Fairytale Studio is designed as a laboratory project which, with slow steps and in continuous dialogue with children, education and other professionals, explores how children and adults socialise, get to know one another, communicate and learn through stories. Our particular focus is on the development of carefully considered and visually accomplished contexts, narrative elements and games supporting and encouraging autonomous storytelling in children. At the same time, we develop a practically tested and theoretically supported educational methodology intended to help and inspire professionals in education and parents who would like to incorporate storytelling into their teaching process and family life.
The Fairytale Studio draws its contents from folk tales, especially the European storytelling tradition. The extremely rich and diverse folktale treasury is a rich source of motifs, fairytale heroes and worlds, (un)happy beginnings and endings, and thus a good basis and an important inspiration for new children’s stories.
Particular attention is devoted to Slovenia’s narrative tradition. We think it is important that children also learn about the narratives, fairytale and mythical creatures that, according to stories, once inhabited our environment and people’s imagination. Still, we do not understand folk storytelling heritage (or a broader storytelling tradition) as a substantively completed whole, with which a child merely becomes acquainted, but as a process within which the meaning and narrative solutions of stories are constantly changed and adapted. This process can include children as an equal creative link creating their own storytelling culture and creatively appropriating the collective knowledge on stories.
For a month each years, the Vodnikova domačija gallery turns into the Storytelling Playroom. Storytelling aids and games, as well as a selection of the best collections of folk tales, invite children and adults to explore the world of folktales and, above all, to tell and invent their own stories. In addition, we organise storytelling workshops and education courses for children and adults with various mentors throughout the year.
The Fairytale Studio is shaped by:
Conceptual and content design, project management
Ljubica Marjanovič Umek, Ph.D., and Robert Kroflič, Ph.D.,
Storytelling, educational content
Katja Preša, Katja Puntar, Tina Mertik, Zala Č. Gruden
Children, parents, school and kindergarten teachers attending our activities and being our precious partners in dialogue.
Design of the Fairytale Studio
Liana Saje Wang
Zala Č. Gruden
Domen Pal and Nada Žgank
Vodnikova domačija Šiška, represented by Tina Popovič
1. Bruner, J: (1986). Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
2. In Slovenia, storytelling in children is a research topic of Ljubica Marjanovič Umek, Ph.D.