Exploring the Role of Play, the Arts, and Story in Early Literacy Learning- A toolkit

Download now
Please rectify the errors in your form

Have you ever listened closely to the little ones? They’re bursting with stories, both real and imagined. As educators, we can foster a classroom culture that values equity, empathy, and compassion; giving children a safe and encouraging space to share their tales and be heard. 

These values are where the idea for Story Workshop grew from. An innovative approach to early literacy that integrates play, art, and writing to enhance children’s learning experience. 

In this toolkit, Susan and Matt talk about using different art materials, to encourage children to develop their ideas and stories. By engaging in creative play and crafting visual images, children can explore their thoughts and feelings in diverse art forms.

How to use this resource:

  • Unpack the different elements of a Story Workshop
  • Watch the videos and refer to the guiding questions to enable conversations
  • Explore expert-recommended books
Matt Karlsen
Co-Director of Center for Playful Inquiry
Susan Harris MacKay
Author, Co-founder of Center for Playful Inquiry

Up next: Related articles, talks and more

The all-in-one collaboration platform for educators.

Toddle streamlines planning, assessments, reports, projects, portfolios, and family communication - all from one place!

Book a free demo
Disclaimer - This resource has been produced independently of and not endorsed by the IB. Toddle’s resources seek to encourage sharing of perspectives and innovative ideas for classroom teaching & learning. They are not intended to be replacements for official IB guides and publications. Views and opinions expressed by the authors of these resources are personal and should not be construed as official guidance by the IB. Please seek assistance from your school’s IB coordinator and/or refer to official IB documents before implementing ideas and strategies shared within these resources in your classroom.
Matt Karlsen
Matt Karlsen dedicates his efforts to helping educational professionals reimagine how they might partner with children and colleagues to construct more just and beautiful worlds. For three decades, he has worked as a classroom teacher and provider of professional development - including transformative years at Opal School. Now, he leads the Center for Playful Inquiry with his friend and colleague Susan Harris MacKay, offering courses, presentations, partnerships, and the Story Workshop Studio community of mutual mentorship.
Susan Harris MacKay
Susan Harris MacKay, is the co-founder and director of the Center for Playful Inquiry, Story Workshop Studio (www.storyworkshop.studio) and is a member of the Advisory Board for Project Zero’s Pedagogy of Play project. She is the author of “Story Workshop: New Possibilities for Young Writers” (Heinemann 2021) and her work has appeared in a variety of publications in the fields of museum education, leadership, and classroom practice, such as “What About Play?” and “Equity and Inclusion through Story Workshop”. She also contributed chapters in “Fostering Empathy in Museums”, “Living the Questions”, and “In the Spirit of the Studio”.
Classroom Strategies, Early Years
Exploring the Role of Play, the Arts, and Story in Early Literacy Learning-A Toolkit
Play helps us figure out what to do when we don't know what to do! The arts and story help us express what we find, think, and feel. These strategies: play, the arts, and story - help us understand ourselves and our world as we seek belonging. This toolkit will explore the role of play and the arts in developing language, literacy, and a sense of identity in the Early Years.