Flor Bromley, Early Stages Teaching Artist, has just completed a Bi-lingual Storytelling Residency with 2nd grade students in Corona, Queens at PS 19. The school is one of the largest K-5 schools with 2,000 students, 60% of whom are English Language Learners.
How has growing up in Peru effected your work as a Storyteller?
My “Storyteller master” from Peru always said that we are born storytellers; we just need to discover our inner Storyteller. I started doing Storytelling about 7 years ago in Peru, working for book publishers and the Ministry of Education. Being from Peru and an immigrant myself, I feel that many of the children, particularly at PS 19 can connect with me in a special way. My personal mission and the mission of Early Stages is to help children find their inner storyteller.
What, in your opinion, is the unique impact of the Early Stages Storytelling work on the children you’re teaching?
Early Stages has definitely opened up new ways of teaching for me. I have embraced the approach of waking up the body, voice, and imagination. The students love it because those three tools are really all you need. The structure of the residency guides my focus for each session and the Early Stages Storytelling notebook that each child receives really expands the impact of the program.
What is your philosophy about bi-lingual Storytelling?
I am a firm believer in bilingualism. I learned English when I was 4 years old in Peru and I love being able to express myself in both languages.
Bilingual Storytelling just opens a new window into learning another language. When bilingual children hear a story being told in two languages or in their native language, it really engages them in a completely different way; it gives them a chance to connect with their culture and, I think, it inspires them to learn more.
When children that are not bilingual hear a bilingual story it motivates them to learn another language. It makes them realize that stories exist in all languages.
What is your favorite story to tell?
My favorite story to tell is a fairytale called “The Frog Princess” from Russia. It’s a story about love, trust, transformation and shows that love is what moves the world, which is why I like it. As women we have often been told that we have to find our “enchanted prince”, well, what if we are enchanted as well and they need to find US? This story talks about that and about overcoming our own fears so that we can let ourselves love and be loved.