While we all get swept up in the happily ever after notions of today’s fairytale characters, it’s important to break open the concept of being a “princess” and widen the definition of what that might look and feel like for girls, both young and old. For deep within these tales are valuable lessons to be learned that go way beyond finding your prince charming.
My first year of teaching was in an amazing kindergarten classroom. We were very fortunate to have a guest teacher come to our class once a week over a period of time to introduce the children to a Cinderella Study. I watch watched, captivated each week, as Karen Balliett, shared Cinderella stories from around the world and lead thought provoking discussions about the universal commonalities as well as the cultural twists among them.
Years later, the time was ripe for sharing the Cinderella Study with my daughters’ book club and it turned out to be a great experience! We gathered our favorite versions of the Cinderella tale (see above).
Everyone had their own copy of the printable above and we started out by introducing the elements of story. Once the girls knew what each term meant, we read the different versions and took notes on each one. As we read, the girls started to notice different nuances in the story.
In some of the stories Cinderella had to look beautiful every time she saw the prince, in others that was not the case. In some versions the Cinderella figure marries the prince and in some she does not. In the versions where Cinderella does marry the prince, in some of them she shows forgiveness to her step-mother and step-sisters and in others she does not. Where the magic shows up and what is required to access it differs from tale to tale as well. The possibilities for discussion are endless!
Once we finished our exploration we took some time to draft notes on our own Cinderella stories, which then led to final writing pieces. By the time we got to writing our own stories there was not moment of hesitation as each girl new exactly what they wanted to write. We ended with a lovely author share, as we munched on carrot sticks and hummus, and eagerly waited to hear each other’s inspiring tales…
To get started, click here for the printable.
Enjoy… and if you do this activity, we would love to hear any insights you glean!