The Power of the Story

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 111 – 13th September 2011

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers.  Lots of newcomers have subscribed as a result of the Geraldton PD, the ECCPA conference in Melbourne and last weekend’s EYES conference in Perth.  I trust you will enjoy the newsletters.  Do keep in touch.  Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to. Feedback is welcome.

PD Update

Watch this space.

The Power of the Story

A few weekends ago I presented at the ECCPA in Melbourne (Early Childhood Conference of Performing Arts) where the theme was ‘Once Upon a Story … A Musical Journey.’ My session was on Dances That Tell a Story. The keynote speaker was Tanya Batt, whose expertise is in drama and storytelling so I was particularly interested in seeing her and I was not disappointed. Her side-kick, Craig Denham, played keyboard to enhance her stories by providing appropriate background noises and atmospheric music. On his own Craig is extraordinarily talented. On her own, Tanya is truly amazing. The combined talent, however, is beyond synergistic; it’s out of the box wonderful. Paul Jennings said of her, “Tanya Batt is a spellbinder. In all my years of telling and listening to stories, I have never heard anyone who can match her. Only a few story tellers can send shivers of joy up a child’s spine. Tanya Batt is the best of those who can.”

If you get a chance to attend one of her sessions or have her entertain the children in your care, don’t hesitate.  You can go to lots of wonderful presentations and hear lofty ideas, but it’s the stories that people remember because we are then connected on a different level.  We leave the cerebral and open the soul.

Stories for children are not just for entertainment.  They are far more that that and when combined with music, drama and dance, can achieve so many curriculum outcomes besides language or cultural development.  Too often elements like the creative arts and storytelling can get lost in the rush to overkill on ‘the three Rs’.  Don’t let that happen to your children.

I was reminded of Tanya when I opened Colin Pearce’s Kick In the Pants newsletter today in which he talked about the power of story.  He was describing his recent attendance at the Adelaide Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast where the speaker was 2011 Australian of the Year, Simon McKeon.  Here’s what Colin writes –

“Simon narrated his personal encounter with the Collins Street shoeshine man, Neil, who had pulled himself up from alcoholism.  He related the tragic tale of his own intellectually disabled older sister and her intellectually disabled son who, in the saddest of circumstances, was responsible for the death of his baby child.  He talked about living with MS.  He talked about noticing people – strangers and other people easily overlooked.

The audience was mesmerised.  Every person was moved by the impact of the truths embedded in his tales.  On the surface, there was not one piece of take-home business advice, “a soft-option waste of time” a cynic might call it.  But as is true when anyone is confronted by story, like summoned like, deep called to deep, and the listeners were altered by dint of simply having heard.”

For more of Colin’s wisdom go to

For more storytelling through music, dance and drama, go to  to purchase the Kidz-Fiz-Biz books and CD’s.  I will shortly also be selling some more of Tanya’s products on my website.

For more about Tanya Batt go to

We Have A Winner

I will shortly have a new product available – a picture book (designed especially for parents but also very suitable for teachers and others to use) all about how to use scarves with your toddlers and pre-schoolers (and others).  It will come with a DVD and 2 scarves.  I held a competition at the ECCPA and EYES conferences to win one and I have drawn the winner –

Jessica Lockyer – attended EYES. Congratulations Jessica!

Quotes of the Week

“You are the sum total of your stories so far.  Make today’s hearers marvel.”  Colin Pearce

“Isn’t it ironic that it takes a couple of years to learn how to speak – but the rest of your life to truly communicate? And as always, it starts with YOU.”  Heidi Cornelissen, Completely Human


When Insults Had Clas

These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued…

“He is only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson

“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating

“There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” – Jack E. Leonard

“He has the attention span of a lighting bolt.” – Robert Redford

“They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” – Thomas Brackett

“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” – Charles, Count Talleyrand

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

” Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx


“I have seen your books but haven’t had the confidence to use them.  I will definitely try them this year with students in lower primary.”

“Hi Marlene, I recently bought both of your ‘Kidz Fiz Biz’ books.  They are THE most useful resources I’ve ever purchased.  Thank you very much.”

– Dorothy Helfgott, Morawa District High School WA.

“Marlenes books and workshops form part of any teachers education programme.  She has lightness of touch with a great showmanship which encourages children of all ages to participate.  I have known Marlene for several years and have always respected her focus, professionalism and dedication to her craft.  I love the energy and vitality of her training sessions and her books provide a comprehensive programme for use in a variety of settings.”

– Mary Mountstephensen MA (SEN) AMBDA

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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