May was national share a story month and ACC Birmingham took part in the annual celebration of storytelling and story sharing. This year’s theme was ‘The planet we share’ which included stories about the people, the animals and also the state of our planet.
Written by Laura Wheele
I ensured all the children had returned to the classroom after their 10 minutes of playtime. They did well on their projects and I had to have some space to clean. The children were always filled with happiness, whenever I got my guitar from the nearby cupboard. They knew it was music time where I was singing some songs with them. I told them that today was going to be a little bit different, taking a stall from the computer desk. I stretched, and asked the children to sit nicely on the carpet, tuning my guitar as I did. “Rachel, tell us! Tell us!” “Hush-” I smiled, re-positioning myself onto my stall, as children began to fill the space in front of me, faces full of excitement and wonder. “I will tell you, and in fact, everyone here in front of me, what might be waiting for you. I cannot tell you everyone’s tale. There are many many, many people here, and I don’t know everyone. So, listen closely, hear the melody as I play the guitar. Close your eyes. That’s it. Just listen. This is the story of earth.”
“This rock we live on harbors the most thrilling of adventures, the most interesting creatures and the beholder of secrets. Earth. A planet we call our home, our inner sanctum. Where our lives branch further outwards, crosses paths with others and gifts us the ground, which we are so thankful to walk on. We are granted the gift of water, so we may drink, and sail the seas. We share earth with many creatures. Some big, some small-” “Like giraffes!” “Like hamsters!” “Oh, cats and dogs and bunnies-” “Yes yes” I smiled, softly touching each chord on my guitar with grace. “You are all correct. Some are nice, and some are not so nice. But, that’s okay. The earth needs a balance to grow and become strong. Earth has secrets too. Unknown islands, magic caves with beautiful glowing crystals and miles of beaches. Lots of mountains to see far and wide, lots of forests for us to explore. People learnt to build, so we have castles and churches, villages and towers-” “I live in a village!” “Me too!”
I chuckled “Some of us live in cities too, Like London. Remember that. But earth has given us so many things, hasn’t it? What else do you think earth has given us?” “Food!” “Mhm, anything else?” “Family…and friends” “Stories!” “Clouds! Lotta clouds!”
“You are all correct!” The children were still fixated on me as I played. Their smiles and curiosity of the world around them creased a smile on my lips. The late afternoon sun was peeking through the window, onto the freshly painted artwork that was created in the morning. I scanned my eyes around the room
as the children listened to my guitar playing. The playmat was clean, all the toy cars and dinosaurs in their draw, Mr.roar sticking out the draw with his little arms and tiny black beaded
eyes. Mama and papa teddy bears were happily in their chairs in the corner of the room, beaming with joy. The paint brushes were still dripping wet from being washed, their drips barely making a disturbance to the children’s ears. Everything, for a moment, was quite tranquil, almost surreal for a classroom. I noticed the time. Almost time for the children to leave, I thought.
“Not everything is good on earth, some people want to hurt it” “Why? Why would they want to hurt it? That’s so sad!” “Yes. It is sad.” I raised myself from the seat, getting comfortable again as I sat. A children’s stall on an adult, wasn’t exactly the best of ideas for me.
“Some people hurt the earth by leaving litter on the floors, not caring for nature, not caring for animals. You see, I think earth has feelings too. If we hurt it, it can be very sad. But, we can do something about it…”
“How?” “Can we take care of it, Rachel?” “Yes!” I responded. “We can do many things to keep the earth happy. Look after each other, treat the world like it was a person. You wouldn’t want to hurt a person would you?” Some of the children frantically shook their heads, some children in the back row had their heads against table legs and chairs – fast asleep. “So, please make sure you pick up your litter, grow some plants in the garden, like we did last week. You could help your moms and dads or whoever looks after you. You can help someone in need, make sure animals get their own space, hug a tree. These things make the earth happy. When you look after it, it will look after you. And others. Let’s make the most of what we have. Our planet earth.”
The school bell had rang. The children woke up and parents slowly collected their children and belongings. I eased my guitar onto the table, helping some of the children to their feet who were awfully excited it was home time. I greeted the parents that left with the children, one by one. Some thanked me for the earth story and were telling their parents all about it, as they do. I noticed the miniature globe on my desk which was gifted to me by the children last year. I strolled myself towards it, closing the curtain as I passed. I leaned myself onto the desk, spinning the globe with my index finger. I was startled by one of the children rushing in, forgetting their P.E bag on their chair. They suddenly took a pause and looked at me. “Can we listen to the earth story again tomorrow? It’s my favourite story.” “Not tomorrow, but another day soon, okay?” The child’s face filled with glee as they rushed out the classroom. The echoes of happy children faded into the evening bird songs from outside. I reached for my coat, touched the globe once more, and left. Together, I thought, we can make the earth a better place.