Stories are the medium through which the world, and all the things in it, are communicated to Primary School children, and the art of story creation and storytelling is something that teachers are encouraged to develop. Rudolf Steiner also encouraged teachers to make up their own stories, particularly in circumstances where everyday issues are causing concern, such as social disharmony, family break-up or serious illness.
Steiner described a vivid picture of the teacher hurrying off to school with a new story to tell the children and how their faces radiated in the listening of it, as if they were themselves part of the story.
There are three types of stories told to the children in Primary School: age and development-appropriate stories, lesson stories inspired by lesson content, and curative stories. All good stories will contain all three of these elements. They may manifest as episodic narratives, fables, legends, myths, poetry and verse, plays, songs or fantasy. Fundamental to locating the content of stories is a thorough understanding of the Primary School learning program, based as it is on child development.
This learning program or curriculum was initially developed at the Waldorf School in Stuttgart and subsequently built on by Steiner schools throughout the world. As Steiner schools spread to other continents, the Euro-centric curriculum has often followed. In 1971, Lorien Novalis was established as Australia's second Steiner school. Part of its charter was to take into account its regional and local geography and culture. Shearwater has continued this lively process, developing its own program to include an appreciation of this time and place. This creative approach has provided a source of inspiration to teachers who look to local geography, flora and fauna in their story-telling.