Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Story for the Girls, Part I

A couple years ago a group of boys in the Meadow Room were very interested in super-hero stories.  We believed that these stories filled an important, basic need common to all people; a model for living like a hero, rising to meet the challenges and changes of life, making moral decisions even at great sacrifice and risk.  We studied Joseph Campbell's work and saw it's relevance to so many of the stories that the boys were playing out.  That year was not unusual though, it happens this way quite often.

But at the end of that year we were left with this question: 
"Where are the stories for the girls?"  

We read many fairy tales and myths and although these are well loved, we longed for the story that would take the girls by storm, like Star Wars had for the boys.  We wanted a story for them that would become the culture of the room, that would draw all the girls together because the story, it's characters, and message were so compelling.

There are always a few girls interested in this or that princess, and even though they may be derived from rich fairy tales, the interest in Disney's portrayals, (which they are or course most familiar with), has always seemed superficial and fleeting.  

But finally, this year "Frozen" has captured the interest of every girl in our room.  They sing and dance Frozen, they quote it's lines, "only an act of true love can save her" in their play.   Almost every day they ask to hear the music, and they have begun to add silver curling ribbon to their hair to transform themselves into Elsa or Anna.

The story is based on The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen, which we are reading now with the children.  We wonder if the children will recognize it as the same story and notice similarities and differences between the fairy tale and the movie.     

The boys  are growing tired of Frozen, just as the girls in prior years were so weary of Star Wars. 
Now that we have the story we have been waiting for, we have new questions:
Why has this movie/story captivated them so much more than others? 
Why do they identify with the particular character that they do? (Anna or Elsa)

What is it about the song "Let it Go" that has so taken them over?  

(We also played the Star Wars theme song:)