Phrases as play objects: Reflections on Vivian Paley and the Story Pirates (Part 2)

In Part 2 Meryl Alper draws some connections between Vivian Paley’s, and the Story Pirates’ innovative approaches to “honoring children’s agency as playwrights, and the ways that those approaches are underscored by sensitivity to each child’s evolving developmental, physical, behavioral and cognitive needs.”

Meryl Alper

In my previous post, I wrote about the associations between the social and cultural context in which children learn about storytelling, and children’s individual and collective relationships with objects that become props for their stories (e.g. physical objects for trading and sharing; sounds and words as objects with a social currency or cultural cache).

As a follow up, I’d like to highlight the work of University of Chicago Laboratory School kindergarten teacher and MacArthur Genius Grant winner Vivian Paley, as well as non-profit arts and literacy organization the Story Pirates (currently partnered with the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles).  These teacher-artist-researchers support children’s storytelling and playwriting as a form of object play with words and other literacy materials.

In highlighting sections of Paley’s book The Boy Who Would Be A Helicopter (1991) and my own observations from recent Story Pirates performances, I hope to draw some connections…

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